- The authority of Saudi Arabia has announced the resumption of lesser hajj for Muslims
- Muslims within Saudi would be allowed to perform Umrah from October 4
- The worshippers would be mandated to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols
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Seven months after shutting down the two holy mosques in Makkah and Medina, the Saudi Arabia government has announced that Muslims would be allowed to perform lesser hajj (umrah) starting from October.
The Saudi authority closed the mosques in February to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic among people, especially the foreign pilgrims.
A report by Arab News indicates that Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday, September 22, that it would start allowing pilgrims to perform Umrah in gradual stages while taking the necessary precautions.
The newspaper noted that Saudi's ministry of interior said the decision was made after assessing the developments of the coronavirus and in response to the desire of Muslims around the world to perform the ritual pilgrimage.
In the first phase of the gradual return, only 6,000 citizens and residents in Saudi Arabia will be allowed into the mosque every day as a measure against coronavirus spread. That number is just 30% of the building's capacity.
For the second phase which will be from October 18, the capacity will be increased to 75%, and would include 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 worshippers a day.
In the third phase, visitors from countries considered safe will be allowed from Sunday, November 1.
It stressed that the fourth stage would see the Grand Mosque return to normal when all the COVID-19 risks have gone away.
The entry of pilgrims, worshippers and visitors will be regulated through an application called “I’tamarna.”
All those attending the holy sites have been urged to adhere to the preventive measures, wear face masks, maintain safe distances from others, and refrain from physical contact.
According to report, Umrah contributes about $12 billion (N4,578,000,000,000) every year to the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the ruler of Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, August 18, had a telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was reported that the conversation was lengthened towards how to stabilize and rebalance global oil markets.
The discussion was accentuated on the importance of compliance to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement and the agreed-upon compensation mechanism by all member states.
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