Only pilgrims and worshippers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from coronavirus will be allowed into the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Monday. Umrah permits and visit permits for the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will increase operational capacity during the month of Ramadan, which begins next week, but it was unclear how long it would last.
Three categories of people would be considered “immunised” — those who have received two doses of the vaccine, those administered a single dose at least 14 days prior, and people who have recovered from the infection. Each person’s vaccination status will need to be registered on Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 app, Tawakkalna. The app was launched last year to help track coronavirus infections. Those who wish to visit the two mosques or perform Umrah will have to register via the Tawakkalna app and the Umrah app Eatmarna. Registrations will be accommodated according to the space and availability of the two mosques and in accordance with health restrictions. Saudi Arabia has reported more than 393,000 coronavirus infections and 6,700 deaths from Covid-19.
In a relaxation of coronavirus curbs last October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the first time in seven months and partially resumed the umrah pilgrimage. The umrah usually attracts millions of Muslims from across the globe each year.