Beginning August 9, Saudi Arabia will start accepting umrah pilgrimage requests from abroad for vaccinated pilgrims. Additionally, umrah is permitted after approximately a year and a half of being unable to receive overseas worshipers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early Sunday, the state news agency (SPA) reported.
With a capacity increase to 2 million pilgrims per month from 60,000, Muslims welcome news. Makkah and Madina will begin welcoming foreign visitors to their mosques while enforcing COVID-19 precautions.
Domestic and international pilgrims will be required to submit authorised COVID-19 vaccination certificates with their umrah requests, according to a Hajj and Umrah Ministry official. Meanwhile, vaccinated pilgrims from Saudi Arabia’s list of prohibited countries will be required to enter quarantine upon arrival.
Umrah is a journey to the two holiest sites in Islam. It is possible to do so at any time of the year. Saudi Arabia reopened umrah for domestic worshippers in October. However, it was entirely due to the pandemic’s outbreak.
Islam’s holiest sites hosted a limited-number domestic hajj pilgrimage in July for the second year in a row. The Kingdom reopened its doors to tourists earlier this month after a 17-month hiatus.
The SPA reported at the time that travelers who are fully vaccinated with Saudi-approved vaccines would be able to enter the kingdom “without the need for an institutional quarantine period,” provided they also have proof of an adverse polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test performed within the last 72 hours and register their details with health authorities.