SOURCE: SAUDI GAZETTE
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Institutional quarantine is no longer required for foreign Umrah pilgrims who received two doses of Covid-19 vaccinations licensed in Saudi Arabia, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
According to the government, fully vaccinated travelers can now travel directly to Makkah and begin conducting Umrah rites without the requirement for institutional quarantine.
The time of stay in the Kingdom for foreign pilgrims has also been extended to 30 days, according to the ministry.
Foreign pilgrims were allowed to stay in Saudi Arabia for up to 30 days until the travel ban imposed following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Foreign pilgrims were granted a 10-day stay in the Kingdom when the interim prohibition on Umrah pilgrims was lifted and the service began on Nov. 1, 2020.
All foreign pilgrims aged 18 and up will now be granted a permit to visit Saudi Arabia and perform Umrah, subject to the Ministry of Health’s restrictions and conditions. Domestic pilgrims will be able to perform Umrah if they are 12 years old or older.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah confirmed that inoculation with two doses of coronavirus vaccinations approved by the Kingdom is the only need for Umrah pilgrims from countries not listed in the travel ban. They are no longer compelled to adhere to the institution’s quarantine policy.
For international pilgrims who have received two doses of immunizations approved by the World Health Organization, however, a three-day institutional quarantine is necessary (WHO). After 48 hours of institutional quarantine, such pilgrims must undergo a PCR laboratory test, and if the results are negative, they will be allowed to conduct Umrah immediately.
Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman recently issued an edict permitting the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque to be used to their maximum capacity for accepting pilgrims and worshipers. As a result, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, as well as the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, have made preparations to accommodate as many local and foreign pilgrims and worshippers as possible at the two holy mosques.
The government has lifted the 50-year-old age limit for pilgrims performing Umrah outside of Saudi Arabia. Following the easing of restrictions imposed following the coronavirus outbreak, the ministry set a minimum age of 18 years and a maximum age of 50 years for booking an appointment and issuing a permit to perform Umrah, as well as a permit to pray at the Grand Mosque and Al-Rawdah Sharif at the Prophet’s Mosque and visit the Prophet’s grave.
The ministry recently opened the Eatmarna and Tawakkalna applications to issue permits for Umrah as well as admission to the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah for individuals arriving from outside the Kingdom. Despite the lifting of societal barriers, pilgrims were still obliged to wear face masks and make reservations to perform Umrah and prayers so that their immune status could be verified at the holy mosques’ gates.