Saudi Mecca clock
This picture taken on May 24, 2020 during the early hours of Eid Al Fitr shows an aerial view of Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has facilitated the return of as many as 450,000 Umrah pilgrims safely to their home countries as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Over 60,000 Umrah performers were sent back to their countries through special flights during the five-day Eid holidays, in a first such operation since the suspension of international flights in the Kingdom on March 15.

Around 1,500 Umrah performers, who were stranded in the country due to travel restrictions, also left in April in collaboration with the ministries of foreign affairs, health and interior.

Another 40,000 pilgrims were brought to Mecca from Madinah with the help of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, to complete their rituals.

The ministry also played host to about 2,000 pilgrims, who were not able to go back to their home countries due to the suspension of international flights.

The suspension of Umrah and international flights continues until further notice.