No health problems reported as third Umrah plan afoot
Indonesian pilgrim handles departure procedures in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Supplied
The first group of foreign pilgrims left Saudi Arabia for home after they had performed the Umrah without health problems, according to Saudi authorities.
On November 1, the first foreign pilgrims had arrived in the kingdom according to a gradual Saudi plan resuming the Umrah after nearly eight months of suspension due to an outbreak of the global new coronavirus pandemic.
The Umrah pilgrims, coming from outside the kingdom, have to stay three days in self-isolation after arrival as part of strict precautions against COVID-19.
The Saudi Ministry of the Hajj and Umrah said that the first batch of pilgrims, coming from Indonesia, departed Monday after they had performed the Umrah rituals in a “ safe and healthy atmosphere under direct supervision from all the agencies concerned.”
On October 4, Saudi Arabia set into motion the first phase of the plan, allowing 6,000 Umrah pilgrims from inside the kingdom per day.
The second went into effect on October 18, allowing about 40,000 worshippers and 10,000 pilgrims a day into the Grand Mosque.
As many as 20,000 Umrah pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day are allowed to perform prayers at the mosque, according to the current third phase. That phase will remain in effect until the peril of COVID-19 is officially announced to be over, according to the Saudi Sabq newspaper.
Millions of Muslims flock to holy sites in Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah in the months that precede and follow the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Those who cannot afford the high costs of the Hajj are often content with performing the Umrah.