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Workers clean the Grand Mosque, during Umrah, in Mecca in this file March 2, 2020 photo. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Saudi Arabia is due to launch the gradual resumption of the Umrah trips next Sunday when the first batch of pilgrims will arrive at the Grand Mosque in Mecca at midnight, a media report said Tuesday.

The duration for the first batch will be three hours, ending at 3am featuring a raft of precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 including observance of social distancing, Okaz online said.

Last week, Saudi authorities unveiled a plan for phased resumption of Umrah and visits to the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina, starting from next month.

Saudis and foreign residents in the kingdom will be allowed in the first phase beginning October 4 to perform Umrah at a capacity of 30 per cent amid stringent health precautions.

Muslims abroad will be allowed to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah as of November 1.

The entry of pilgrims to the holy site is regulated through the App “I’tamarna” (We’ve performed the Umrah). The app has defined four assembling points for the first batch who will be transported aboard buses in groups to the Grand Mosque.

Each group will be escorted by a health companion and a leader ensuring full compliance with precautions including the mandatory wearing of face masks throughout the ritual.