Around 10,000 foreigners have arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah for the first time after a seven-month shutdown due to a coronavirus epidemic. However, the country’s Deputy Minister for Hajj Yatra and Umrah, Amr al-Madda, said that pilgrims should set aside for at least three days before arriving at the temple. Attendees will be allowed to stay in Saudi for a total of ten days. Qatar-based Al Jazeera reports.
Millions of people from all over the world visit Saudi Arabia every year to perform Hajj and Umrah. Muslims have to go to the same place to follow both these rules. However, Hajj is conducted once a year. This comparatively lengthy religious process should be performed once in a lifetime by competent Muslims.
The symbolic Hajj has been conducted this year mainly due to the coronovirus epidemic. The Muslims of the country have got the opportunity to participate in it. Since last month, those in the country have been allowed to ransom. Although Hajj is a formality at certain times of the year, people from Muslim communities around the world can perform Umrah at any time of the year. However, 30 per cent of the capacity, or only six thousand people per day, is being allowed.
This time, foreign nationals have been allowed to ransom, but in addition to the three-day separation requirement, coronavirus testing has been made mandatory for all people 50 and younger. Saudi Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Amr al-Madda said that if any of them were identified, it would be closely monitored.
Last year, around 19 million people visited Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. Hundreds of shops, including more than 1,300 hotels in the cities of Mecca and Medina, were troubled by people 24 hours before the epidemic. However, these have remained basically zero for the past few months.
Although Hajj and Umrah are allowed, they are not allowed to touch the Kaaba.