Nearly 5.5 million perform Umrah

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saudi Gazette report

MAKKAH — As many as 5.48 million pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom until Thursday since the start of the current season in late October last year, according to the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.

In its weekly cumulative indicator, the ministry said the Saudi authorities issued more than 5.9 million Umrah visas to prospective pilgrims so far.

It said 5,031,799 people came to the Kingdom and left the country after performing the minor pilgrimage to Makkah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. As many as 456,903 pilgrims currently remained in the two holy cities — consisting of 314,305 in Makkah completing Umrah rituals and 142,598 in Madinah paying homage to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and praying at his mosque.

The ministry said 4,897,148 pilgrims arrived by air, 525,335 by land and 66,219 by sea.

It said the pilgrims were being served by 10,533 Saudi employees working in the Umrah companies consisting of 8,720 men and 1,813 women.

The ministry said the services being provided to the pilgrims were steadily being developed to keep pace with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to serve about 30 million Umrah pilgrims annually.

According to the ministry, Pakistan, with 1,268,763, came on top of all other countries in the number of Umrah pilgrims, followed by Indonesia with 817,434 pilgrims.

India sent 535,990 pilgrims, Egypt 327,434, Turkey 264,815, Yemen 253,627, Malaysia 249,671, Algeria 236,082, Iraq 195,874 and Jordan 157,005.

Health tips

The Ministry of Health has underlined the importance of washing fruit and vegetables before consuming them, as well as washing hands before and after eating to prevent contamination.

In an awareness brochure published on its Twitter page within a campaign dubbed Healthy Umrah, the ministry advised the pilgrims and visitors to the holy cities to ensure their kitchen utensils are hygienic. They were also told to avoid buying food from dubious street vendors.

As part of its tips series for this Umrah season, the ministry highlighted the importance of verifying food expiration date, not leaving food uncovered or unwrapped, and the risks of keeping cooked food longer.