Saudi ministry announces quarantine rules for foreign pilgrims

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

MAKKAH: People arriving in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah are not supposed to wear Ihram on their arrival, as they have to undergo a three-day quarantine in their hotels, said Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

He said at the end of their hotel stay, their respective Umrah companies will transport them to the nearest “Miqat” to don Ihram and continue with their rituals.

In the third phase of Umrah resumption, which begins on Nov.1, pilgrims from around the world will be allowed to enter the Kingdom. Some 20,000 pilgrims — residents and visitors — can perform rituals daily amid strict social distancing measures.

Al-Maddah said the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya) is monitoring the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic situation in every country to help inform the relevant authorities before Umrah arrivals.

The official delivered these details at a virtual workshop on Monday.

He said the Eatmarna app has been downloaded around 3 million times and more than 1.4 million people have applied for permits, with over 1 million being issued for Umrah and prayers in the Grand Mosque.

Al-Maddah said in case of a hike in infections, authorities may limit the number of pilgrims at any point.

He said full medical insurance is mandatory to ensure adequate health care for pilgrims in case of COVID-19 infection or any other health issues.

Al-Maddah said Weqaya will determine which countries can send pilgrims depending on the number of infections. He reassured that Umrah companies will be provided with regular updates.