1 million women have performed Umrah and offered prayers in the Grand Mosque in total since the gradual resumption of rituals began on October 4. Image Credit: Gulf News file

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has said that permits for performing Umrah or lesser pilgrimage for overseas Muslims are limited to those aged from 18 to 50 years.

Before travel, overseas pilgrims are also required to be fully inoculated against COVID-19 with vaccines recognised in Saudi Arabia and presenting an officially endorsed vaccination certificate to obtain an electronic entry visa via a platform of the Saudi Foreign Ministry, the kingdom’s Ministry of Umrah and Hajj said.

The ministry has recently launched a service enabling overseas Umrah pilgrims to obtain permits for performing the rituals in the Grand Mosque in Mecca and pray in the Prophet Mohammed Mosque in Medina through the health apps Eatmarna and Tawakkalna in an effort to facilitate procedures for them.

Domestic pilgrims and worshippers, meanwhile, have to obtain similar permits and avoid escorting children in the Grand Mosque.

Last month, Saudi Arabia eased restrictions against COVID-19 as the epidemiological situation in the country has stabilised amid a sharp decline in infections.

The relaxed measures include ending distancing for worshippers in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina where full capacity has been reinstated.

However, worshippers are required to continue wear face masks at both mosques.