As Saudi Arabia lifts the bans imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, foreign pilgrims will now be able to visit the Kingdom to perform Umrah.
According to Saudi Gazette, pilgrims aged 18-50 will be allowed to enter the Kingdom from abroad to perform Umrah, effective from November 1 (Rabiul Awwal 15).
The pilgrims must quarantine themselves for three days upon their arrival in Saudi Arabia as part of the precautionary measures and preventive protocols issued by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Saudi Gazette quoted ministry sources as saying that all Umrah companies and establishments must adhere to the ministry’s regulations and controls regulating the reception of pilgrims from outside the Kingdom.
The publication, citing regulations, reported that pilgrims must carry a PCR medical test certificate clearing them of coronavirus.
The certificate must be issued by a reliable laboratory and must not be more than 72 hours old from the time the sample was taken to the time of departure to Saudi Arabia.
“The pilgrims shall have obtained reservation for the performance of Umrah as well as to the visit of the Two Holy Mosques and prayer at Rawdah Sharif by registering through Eatmarna application, as well as having confirmed return flight reservations in accordance with the approved programme for each pilgrim,” read the report.
It said the reservation for accommodation “must include at least three meals during the three-day period of medical isolation”.
Instructions to Umrah companies
Specific instructions have also been issued to Umrah companies, as follows:
- The Umrah company has to verify the correct information in the passports of the pilgrims, including the date of birth entered in the Umrah system, within a maximum 34 hours before the arrival date.
- The data of confirmed airline tickets for each pilgrim will also be entered in the system. This will include ticket number, flight number, city of departure, date, and time of departure.
- The system will contain accommodation information for stay in Makkah and Madina.
- The foreign Umrah tour agent, in solidarity with the Saudi Umrah company, is responsible for the integrity of this data, and they will be held accountable for furnishing incorrect information in this regard.
- The foreign agents shall notify the pilgrims about the mandatory health precaution of three-day medical isolation upon arrival in the Kingdom in the hotels in which the pilgrims reside.
- The pilgrims must be divided into groups of at least 50 each, with a leader appointed to guide each group.
The Saudi Gazette further said: “The ministry stated that it, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other concerned authorities, is working to determine the countries from where the Umrah performers can come and their numbers on a periodic basis.”