The Edition


Saudi prepares to lift ban on Umrah pilgrimages

Ahmed Aiham
23 September 2020, MVT 13:34
Pilgrims waiting for their departure to Saudi Arabi from Maldives. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
23 September 2020, MVT 13:34

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior announced the reversion of its ban on Umrah pilgrimages from November onwards for foreigners, following approval by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

However, residents of Saudi Arabia can partake in the holy pilgrimage starting October 4.

Saudi Arabia stated that pilgrimages would begin after ensuring the safety of all visitors under special protocols.

As part of a scheduled phased opening, 6,000 indviduals will be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage per day during the first phase, which is to be shortly followed by the second phase on October 18, which will see a maximum of 15,000 pilgrims daily.

From November onwards, the capacity will be raised to 20,000, a significant decrease of the regular quota.

According to Saudi Arabia, the country will raise the capacity to pre-COVID-19 levels only after virus dangers are non-existent.

This year, the fear of spreading infections caused Saudi Arabia to bar foreign visitors from attending both Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

Each year, a large number of Maldivians attend the pilgrimage, which roughly costs over MVR 36,000 per person.