Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – At least 10,000 international pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday after a seven-month hiatus to perform umrah (the minor hajj) and visit the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah on the first day of the third phase of the umrah resumption, Arab News reported.
According to Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, the 10,000 pilgrims arriving from abroad should first obtain a permit.
Upon arrival, they should isolate for three days before being transported to Miqat sites, principle boundaries at which pilgrims intending to perform umrah should change into ihrams.
They can stay in the kingdom for up to 10 days, three of which are in isolation.
As per protocol, 500 groups of international pilgrims with 20 pilgrims for each at maximum age of 50 years old, are dispersed throughout the day,
The deputy minister added that countries are subject to continuous evaluation by the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the Ministry of Health as part of the government’s approved standards and protocols.
Visas for pilgrims arriving from countries that are seeing a noticeable increase in numbers will be placed on hold until further assessment.
With the start of the third phase, the holy mosques will be working at 100 percent operation, a pivotal stage for companies in the sector.
Al-Maddah added that if at any stage there is a cause for concern or danger to pilgrims, the ministry will evaluate the situation and return to previous stages and decrease capacity.
Currently, Saudia is the only certified airline allowed to transport pilgrims to and from the kingdom. Pilgrims arriving from countries from which the carrier does not operate must arrange through a third party, accounted for by the kingdom.
Pilgrims should have a health guide provided by Umrah companies to monitor each group throughout their visit.
They should also have full health insurance that includes emergency treatment if infected and a possible PCR test.
Reporting by Indonesia Window