Saudi Arabia will allow travelers who have received the vaccine approved by the Kingdom to enter the country for the Umrah pilgrimage.
Prayers at Masjid al-Haram in Mecca (AP/PTI)
Saudi Arabia will allow fully vaccinated foreign pilgrims to visit the Kingdom from Monday for the Umrah pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. Officials will accept travel requests from Monday. The Kingdom closed its borders 18 months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccinated foreign tourists have been allowed to enter the country from August 1. Last month only 60,000 vaccinated residents were allowed to participate in Hajj. Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca, which must be performed by able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lives.
At the same time, Umrah pilgrimage can be done at any time of the year and millions of people from all over the world reach Saudi Arabia for this pilgrimage. Pilgrims can also visit the holy city of Medina. The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said that initially Saudi Arabia would allow only 60,000 pilgrims to perform Umrah every month. After this it will be increased to 20 lakh devotees every month. But travelers will have to get the vaccine approved by Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has approved the Pfizer/BioNtech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
More than 8,300 people died of corona
The SPA quoted Deputy Haj Minister Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat as saying that foreign tourists may also have to go to Quarantine if needed. So far 5,32,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia. So far more than 8,300 people have died of COVID. Saudi Arabia has said that it will compensate the families of health workers who died of the coronavirus. Last year itself, it had said that five lakh riyals would be given to the families of the victims. Riyadh has spent billions of dollars to build its tourism industry to reduce its dependence on oil.
97.5 lakh fully vaccinated in the Kingdom
The Saudi Arabian government has intensified its vaccination campaign, so that other sectors affected by Corona, including tourism, can be revived. Vaccination has been made mandatory for every person entering government and private institutions. It also includes educational institutions, entertainment venues and public transport. In Saudi Arabia, about 29 million people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine. At the same time, the number of fully vaccinated people is 97.5 lakh.
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