Makkah Haram restrictions till June 21, Umrah to remain suspended

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

 Saudi government has decided to ease corona lockdown in the Kingdom but said restrictions in the two holy mosques - the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Masjid-e-Nabawi in Madina, could be lifted on June 21 after a review of the situation.

Saudi authorities also said that Umrah pilgrimage and all international flights will remain suspended till further notice, according to Arab News.

Continued suspension on Umrah and international flights gave rise to speculations that Hajj 2020 will also be held amidst restrictions.

Media reports in Ramadan citing official sources had claimed that Hajj 2020 will not be cancelled but the Saudi government is planning to allow only government delegations from different countries for the important annual ritual to be performed in July, 2020.

"On Sunday May 31, curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted", the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

"On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted", it added.

"The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m", SPA said.

"Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown till June 21", it added.

"Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice", SPA said.

"The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it", it said.

Makkah, Madina and other cities of Saudi Arabia are under lockdown since February 2020 when the first case of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was reported. Saudi Arabia has so far reported 74,795 Corona cases, including 399 deaths.