Cairo: Saudi Arabia has said that non-vaccinated Muslim worshippers are allowed, but with some conditions, into the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, which are Islam’s holiest sites, confirming relaxed rules.
The kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said the non-vaccinated faithful are allowed to pray in both mosques and issue permits via the Nusuk app to perform Umrah or lesser pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque, provided they have not contracted COVID-19 or have not come in touch with those suffered from the disease.
In October 2020, Saudi Arabia gradually resumed Umrah after about seven months of suspension due to the global pandemic.
In August 2021, overseas Muslims wishing to perform Umrah were allowed back into Saudi Arabia under certain health conditions to curb COVID-19 spread.
In March last year, Saudi Arabia lifted most anti-coronavirus restrictions. This included scrapping physical distancing and the previous requirement to present a negative PCR test result among worshippers at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.
Saudi Arabia has maximised preparations for next month’s annual Hajj pilgrimage as the numbers of pilgrims this year are set to return to their pre-epidemic levels. Saudi health authorities have urged domestic pilgrims to get mandatory vaccines.
The Health Ministry has specified these vaccines as full inoculation against COVID-19, the anti-meningitis vaccine for those who have not got it in the last five years, and the seasonal flu shot. The vaccines are available until 10 days before the start of the Hajj rites.
Overseas pilgrims should get the mandatory vaccines in their home countries before travelling to Saudi Arabia.