Saudi authorities stated Monday solely folks immunised towards Covid-19 shall be allowed to carry out the year-round umrah pilgrimage from the beginning of Ramadan, the holy fasting month for Muslims.

The hajj and umrah ministry stated in a press release that three classes of individuals can be thought of “immunised” — those that have obtained two doses of the vaccine, these administered a single dose no less than 14 days prior, and individuals who have recovered from the an infection.

Only these folks shall be eligible for permits to carry out umrah, in addition to to attend prayers within the Grand Mosque within the holy metropolis of Mecca.

It added that the situation additionally applies for entry into the Prophet’s Mosque within the holy metropolis of Medina.

The ministry stated the coverage begins with Ramadan, which is because of start later this month, nevertheless it was unclear how lengthy it could final.

It was additionally not clear whether or not the coverage, which comes amid an uptick in coronavirus infections within the kingdom, can be prolonged to the annual hajj pilgrimage later this yr.

Saudi Arabia has reported greater than 393,000 coronavirus infections and 6,700 deaths from Covid-19.

The kingdom’s well being ministry stated it has administered greater than 5 million coronavirus vaccines, in a rustic with a inhabitants of over 34 million.

Last month, King Salman changed the hajj minister, months after the dominion hosted the smallest hajj in trendy historical past as a result of pandemic.

Mohammad Benten was relieved from his submit and changed by Essam bin Saeed, based on a royal decree revealed by official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The kingdom hosted the hajj in late July final yr.

Only 10,000 Muslim residents of Saudi Arabia itself have been allowed to participate, a far cry from the two.5 million Muslims from all over the world who participated in 2019.

It is unclear what number of pilgrims shall be allowed for hajj this yr.

According to the pro-government Okaz newspaper, solely vaccinated pilgrims will possible be permitted this yr.

In a leisure of coronavirus curbs final October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the primary time in seven months and partially resumed the umrah pilgrimage.

The umrah often attracts hundreds of thousands of Muslims from throughout the globe annually.

Authorities stated the umrah shall be allowed to return to full capability as soon as the specter of the pandemic has abated.

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