In the media Sunday, some 18 months after a border shutdown triggered by the coronavirus epidemic, Saudi Arabia will start to allow vaccinated international pilgrims wishing to visit the Islamic Holy City of Makkah.
From Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Pilgrim Coordination authorities ‘start to receive requests from Umrah from various parts of the globe,’ said the Saudi Press Agency.
The umrah is a pilgrimage to which millions of people are sent from throughout the globe every year — different from the hajj, once annually.
The Covid-19 epidemic has greatly affected both pilgrimages, which typically provide for the Kingdom’s major revenues — raising collectively approximately 12 billion dollars (10.3 billion euros) a year in normal circumstances.
Only immune pilgrims living in Saudi Arabia were eligible for Urah visas prior to Sunday’s statement, but Hajj has been in scaled down form since the beginning of the epidemic
Saudi Deputy Minister Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat quoted international pilgrims must be immunised by a Saudi vaccine and be allowed to pass quarantine.