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Saudi to announce countries for foreign pilgrims; outlines Umrah protocols for first phase

Saudi to announce countries for foreign pilgrims; outlines Umrah protocols for first phase

During the first phase, only 12 groups of pilgrims would be allowed to perform Umrah within 24 hours

Saudi Arabia will take a decision on which countries will be allowed to send their pilgrims to perform the Umrah pilgrimage, according to media reports.

The announcement by the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Benten, comes in the wake of an earlier statement by the Ministry of Interior saying that foreign Umrah pilgrims would be permitted to enter the country only in the third phase of the resumption of the suspended Umrah services.

However, the list of countries from which pilgrims would be permitted was not disclosed.

Benten said that there would be a special electronic path for the arrival and departure of foreign Hajj pilgrims for next year’s Hajj.

However, referring to the resumption of Umrah service for domestic pilgrims effective from October 4, the minister said that only 12 groups of pilgrims would be allowed to perform Umrah within 24 hours in the first phase.

Read: Saudi to resume Umrah and visits to the Grand Mosque in phases

“The pilgrims will be divided into groups and each group will be accompanied by a health professional at the Haram. Only pilgrims between the ages of 18 and 65 years will be allowed in the first phase,” he said.

Benten revealed that there is no fee for issuance of Umrah permit.

“No Umrah pilgrims will be allowed to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah without completing the entry procedures through the mobile app “I’tamarana” and this is to ensure the health and safety of pilgrims,” he said, adding that alternative arrangement will also be provided in case of technical difficulties.

First phase: Domestic pilgrims can now register

Saudi citizens and expatriates as well as their families in the kingdom are allowed to download the ‘I’tamarna’ app, effective September 27, to register their names to perform Umrah pilgrimage as well as to visit and worship at the Two Holy Mosques.

The application is now available for users seven days before the start of the first phase of the pilgrimage.

In the first phase, citizens and expatriates in the kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah, starting from Sunday, October 4, at 30 per cent of the capacity – equating to 6,000 Umrah performers per day, taking into account the health precautionary measures in place at the Grand Mosque.

The registration of the data entered by the pilgrims and visitors to the Two Holy Mosques will be directly related to the ‘Tawakkalna’ app launched by the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The app will enable the pilgrims and visitors to plan their visit in advance, as well as make reservations for optional services.

It will also ensure compliance of health and precautionary measures approved by the Ministry of Health and other authorities, to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, stores for Ihram clothing resumed after a six-month hiatus in Saudi Arabia prior to the partial resumption of the Umrah season from next Sunday.

Saudi Arabia suspended Umrah for citizens and residents in the kingdom due to the coronavirus outbreak in early March.

Read: Saudi temporarily suspends Umrah for citizens, residents over coronavirus outbreak

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