Saudi Arabia to allow only vaccinated people entry for Umrah

By: AFP      Published: 09:29 PM, 5 Apr, 2021
Saudi Arabia to allow only vaccinated people entry for Umrah
–File photo

Saudi authorities said Monday only people vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to perform Umrah starting from the holy month of Ramazan.

The Hajj and Umrah Ministry said in a statement that only "immunised people" will be granted permits to perform Umrah as well as prayers in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah. It added that the condition also applies for entry into the Holy Prophet's Mosque in the holy city of Madina. The ministry said the policy starts with Ramazan, which is due to begin later this month, but it was unclear how long it would last. 

It was also not clear whether the policy, which comes amid an uptick in coronavirus infections in the kingdom, would be extended to the annual Hajj pilgrimage later this year. Saudi Arabia has reported more than 393,000 coronavirus infections and 6,700 deaths from Covid-19. The kingdom's health ministry said it has administered more than five million coronavirus vaccines, in a country with a population of over 34 million.

Last month, King Salman replaced the Hajj minister, months after the kingdom hosted the smallest Hajj in modern history due to the pandemic.