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Umrah for pilgrims from within Saudi Arabia starts on Oct 4

The number of pilgrims will be resrticted at 30 per cent as against 40 per cent as earlier proposed

Wednesday September 23, 2020 6:32 AM, ummid.com News Network

Umrah ban lifted

Makkah: After a long wait, Saudi Arabia has finally decided to resume Umrah from October 4, 2020, though only for the pilgrims from within Saudi Arabia and keeping the number of pilgrims at 30 percent of the capacity.

Saudi Arabia had on Monday released 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.

Umrah with reduced number of pilgrims

During the first stage, Saudi citizens and expatriates living in the Kingdom were proposed to be allowed to perform Umrah at 40 percent of the normal capacity.

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 had not declare the actual date when the Umrah will be resumed. In another official announcement on Tuesday, Saudi Ministry of Interior said the ban on Umrah will be lifted on October 4.

It also said in the first phase, pilgrims only from withing Saudi Aarbia will be allowed to perform Umrah. The number of pilgrims will be resrticted at 30 per cent as against 40 per cent as earlier proposed. This is the equivalent of 6,000 pilgrims per day.

Pilgrims from abroad from November 1

The second phase will increase the capacity of the Grand Mosque to 75 percent, which would include 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 worshippers a day from Oct. 18, according to Arab News.

In the third phase, pilgrims from abroad would be allowed to perform Umrah as of Nov. 1 with at full capacity of 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshippers per day. The fourth stage will see the Grand Mosque return to normal, when all the COVID-19 risks have gone away.

How to apply for Umrah Visa

The entry of pilgrims, worshippers and visitors will be regulated through an application called “I’tamarna.”

The app is to be launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, with the aim of enforcing health standards and making it easier for pilgrims to book their journeys.

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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