JEDDAH, Feb 7 (Asia Free Press): The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that travelers arriving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for performing Umrah (minor pilgrimage) are no longer required to show a proof of vaccination against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a press statement on Monday, the ministry said that those seeking to perform Umrah, regardless for their vaccination status, have to submit, upon arrival, only a negative PCR or rapid antigens test of a sample taken within 48 hours of the date of departure to the Kingdom.
It stated that the decision will go into effect starting at 1:00 am Wednesday, February 9, KUNA reported
Earlier, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had also announced that foreign Umrah pilgrims can now once more extend their duration of stay to 30 days from the previously allowed 10 days, the Saudi Gazette had reported.
“Before the travel ban following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, foreign pilgrims were allowed to stay up to 30 days in Saudi Arabia. When the temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims was lifted and the service resumed on November 1, 2021, foreign pilgrims were allowed a 10-day stay in the kingdom,” the report noted.
Additionally, as long as the foreign pilgrims are from countries which do not fall under a travel ban, and as long as they have been inoculated with the approved vaccines, they can now directly arrive in Makkah and perform Umrah without the need for institutional quarantine.
Under the new relaxations, all foreign pilgrims aged 18 and above will be given a permit to enter the kingdom and perform Umrah, subject to the terms set by the ministry.
Among domestic pilgrims, those aged 12 and above are allowed to perform Umrah.