JEDDAH — The third phase of the gradual resumption of Umrah service and visit to the Two Holy Mosques started on Sunday, Nov. 1 as first batches of pilgrims from outside the Kingdom are expected to land at King Abdulaziz International Airport here this evening.
Foreign pilgrims are allowed to perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah for the first time after a hiatus of eight months since the temporary suspension of Umrah due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
In the third phase, as many as 20,000 Umrah pilgrims and 60,000 worshippers will be allowed entry to the Grand Mosque in Makkah on a daily basis. A total of 19,500 faithful would have permits to visit the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Sunday.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah stated that it has set 10 days as the maximum period of stay for foreign pilgrims in the Kingdom. The ministry added that the period available for reservation through Eatmarna application is up to Dec. 31.
A large number of worshipers, who obtained a permit to perform prayer at the Grand Mosque in the third phase, attended Fajr prayer on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has completed all preparations to receive the foreign Umrah pilgrims at Jeddah airport.
The GACA, in coordination with the concerned government and private agencies, has made all the precautionary measures and preventive protocols to stem the spread of coronavirus as part of its comprehensive operational plan.
The authority has made available all the devices and supplies and mobilized medical staff to examine travelers coming to the Kingdom.
This is in addition to arrangements to ensure that they are free from infection from coronavirus, based on a recent analysis by the concerned authorities in the countries from where the pilgrims are coming related to the pandemic situation prevailing in the respective countries.
GACA will use only 50 percent of the operational capacity of aerobridges, and will ensure all passengers fully complying with the preventive protocols such as wearing masks and keeping physical distance.
Passengers will be provided with sterilization devices upon their arrival at the airport terminal and throughout the facilities at the airport. There are medical isolation areas for passengers who have symptoms of infection.
According to the protocols issued by the ministry, the age of foreign pilgrims shall be between 18 and 50 years and they must remain three days in quarantine at their accommodation in Makkah after their arrival in the Kingdom.
The regulations stipulate that pilgrims must have a PCR medical test certificate showing that they are free from coronavirus, issued by a reliable laboratory in their country, not more than 72 hours from the time of taking sample until the time of departure to the Kingdom.
Source: Okaz/Saudi Gazette