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Saudi Arabia shelves 14-day waiting period for Umrah pilgrims



ISLAMABAD:

Pilgrims wishing to perform Umrah will no longer be required to wait for 14 days to book for the ritual, according to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj.

Dr Amr Al-Maddah, the chief of planning and strategy officer at the ministry, said in an interview with Arab News that by easing preventive measures, the operational capacity of the Grand Mosque for Umrah and prayers has significantly increased.

“In line with the developments at this stage, which in turn increased the demand in the dates available to perform Umrah, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah made this feature available for pilgrims. This condition is no longer necessary and will achieve a fair opportunity for all due to the high demand,” he said.

Also read: No increase in Hajj, Umrah expenses: Qadri

On Oct 16, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced the easing of restrictions across the kingdom, including those affecting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque in Madina, allowing a full return to operations and capacity.

Last week, worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah offered prayers shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Workers removed floor markings that guide people to social distance in and around the Grand Mosque, which is built around the holy Kaaba.

While social distancing measures were lifted, the authorities said visitors must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus and must continue to wear masks on mosque grounds.



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