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Saudi Arabia to open Umrah for vaccinated persons from abroad

Saudi Arabia to open Umrah for vaccinated persons from abroad
August 8, 2021 --- Reuters

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has decided to open the Umrah pilgrimage for vaccinated persons from abroad from Monday, after more than a year passed since the kingdom refused to allow people from abroad to perform the pilgrimage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The kingdom's state news agency, SPA, confirmed the development.

With a capacity that would rise to 2 million pilgrims from 60,000 pilgrims per month, Makkah and Madinah will start welcoming visitors from abroad to their mosques while maintaining COVID-19 precautionary measures.

An official in the Hajj and Umrah Ministry said domestic and overseas pilgrims will have to include authorized COVID-19 vaccination certificates along with their Umrah request.

Vaccinated pilgrims from countries that Saudi Arabia includes on its entry-ban list will have to be institutionally quarantined upon arrival, the report added.

Umrah, a pilgrimage to Islam's two holiest sites that is undertaken at any time of the year, was reopened in October for domestic worshippers after it was totally suspended upon the outbreak of the pandemic.

Islam's holiest sites' home for the second year in a row had hosted a limited-numbered, domestic Haj pilgrimage in July.