Saudi Arabia to assess allowing Umrah amid COVID-19

A handout picture provided by Saudi Ministry of Media on July 31, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, the holiest shrine in the Grand mosque in the holy Saudi city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia will evaluate this year’s Hajj season which was held amid heightened security and strict coronavirus-related restrictions over the next two weeks, Dr. Hussein al-Sharif, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs told local media.

He added that the ministry will compile the lessons learned from the health procedures and logistics of organizing this year’s Hajj pilgrimage during the COVID-19 pandemic and start preparations for the next Umrah season,” according to Saudi’s Okaz newspaper.

In late February, Saudi Arabia suspended entry for individuals seeking to perform Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca or visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as part of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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On March 4, the Kingdom also suspended Umrah for its citizens and residents.

Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca. However, unlike Hajj, it is not mandatory, can be completed within a few hours, and can be performed year-round.

This year’s Hajj pilgrims concluded all rituals on Sunday, 2nd August.

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