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Saudi Arabia unveils three stage plan to resume Umrah

Saudi Arabia however did not declare the actual date when the Umrah will be resumed

Tuesday September 22, 2020 12:59 PM, ummid.com News Network

Umrah

Hajj and Umrah: Saudi Arabia on Monday rolled out a three stage plan to resume Umrah - the pilgrimage to Makkah during the days other than Hajj, suspended since February 2020 because of Coronavirus pandemic.

During the first stage, Saudi citizens and expatriates living in the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah. However, Umrah services will operate at 40 percent of the normal capacity, Arab News reported.

In the second phase, the capacity will be increased to 75 percent, and in phase three full capacity will be restored and pilgrims from outside the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah.

The Kingdom however did not declare the actual date when the Umrah will be resumed.

It is widely believed that restrictions on Umrah travel is most likely to continue till January 2021 as Saudi Arabia said ban imposed on international flights following the Covid-19 outbreak could be lifted only in early next year.

The latest announcement by Saudi Arabia only confirm the apprehensions, though it has now become clear that Muslims residing in Saudi Arabia could soon be allowed to perform Umrah.

Muslims from outside Saudi Arabia would be allowed to perform Umrah only after restrictions on international flights are lifted.

Saudi Arabia had banned the entry of Umrah pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah and Umrah visa issuance on February 26, 2020 soon after the first case of Coronavirus positive patient was detected.

The ban which is continuing till date also saw the Makkah Haram devoid of Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan and also a curtailed down Hajj when only 1000 pilgrims were allowed to perform the annual ritual.

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