Following Saudi Arabia’s recent announcement to accept foreign Umrah pilgrims, different Hajj agencies in Bangladesh started receiving applications. However, the intended pilgrims’ vaccination status has to be approved by the Middle Eastern country.
According to Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB), thousands of intended pilgrims have already applied to perform Umrah.
HAAB President Shahadat Hossain Taslim yesterday said intended pilgrims are expected to fly to Saudi Arabia from next month.
Bangladeshi #Muslims could not perform #Hajj and Umrah in the last two years amid the pandemic, he told this newspaper.
At present, many intended pilgrims, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, have been enquiring about their eligibility to perform #Umrah in Saudi Arabia, said the HAAB president.
He said pre-pandemic, about 2,50,000 Bangladeshis could perform #Umrah in a year.
He urged the government to ensure inoculation of intended pilgrims with vaccines that are approved by Saudi Arabia.
The religious affairs ministry has published a list of 247 agencies that will be allowed to arrange for Umrah from Bangladesh, the ministry’s secretary Nurul Islam told a webinar on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Arab News yesterday reported that Saudi Arabia on Tuesday approved two more Covid-19 vaccines — Sinovac and Sinopharm.
The report, however, did not mention whether intended Umrah pilgrims outside Saudi Arabia will be eligible to perform the holy ritual, if they are inoculated with the two vaccines.
Contacted, Nurul Islam yesterday said they were yet to know anything regarding this officially.
The report did mention that the Saudi Ministry of Health said those who were fully inoculated with Sinopharm or Sinovac can be accepted into Saudi Arabia, provided they receive a booster shot of a vaccine approved in the Middle Eastern country.
The HAAB president also said uncertainty still exists over the issue as booster dose has not yet been introduced in Bangladesh.
Before this announcement, there were four vaccines approved for use in Saudi Arabia: Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen, and Moderna, the Arab News report said.
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