Starting in the holy month of Ramadan, only people who have been immunize against COVID-19 will be able to perform the year-round Umrah pilgrimage.
Only “immunised citizens” will be allowed to perform Umrah and pray in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Individuals who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, those who have received one dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before conducting the pilgrimage, or those who have recovered from the virus are among those who are qualified, according to the ministry.
In accordance with COVID-19 steps and limitations, the ministry also stated that it would increase the holy mosque’s operational capability.
It was also unclear if the policy, which comes as Saudi Arabia sees an increase in coronavirus infections, will be applied to the annual Hajj pilgrimage later this year.
More than 393,000 coronavirus infections and 6,700 deaths have been recorded in Saudi Arabia.
In a nation with a population of over 34 million people, the kingdom’s health ministry claims to have given out more than five million coronavirus vaccines.
Following the pandemic, King Salman replaced the Hajj minister last month, months after the kingdom hosted the smallest Hajj in modern history.
According to a royal decree released by the Saudi Press Agency, Mohammad Benten was relieved of his duties and replaced by Essam bin Saeed (SPA).
Last year, only 10,000 Muslims from Saudi Arabia were allowed to participate in the Hajj, a far cry from the 2.5 million Muslims from around the world who did so in 2019.