International

Saudi Arabia Announces Mandatory Vaccination for Umrah Pilgrims

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Saudi Arabia Announces Mandatory Vaccination for Umrah Pilgrims

Image Credit: Amir Nabil, AP

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced last week that a permit to perform Umrah in Mecca can only be granted if the individual is vaccinated against COVID-19, is within 14 days of taking their first dose, or has recovered from the disease.

Those who perform Umrah without a permit can be fined the equivalent of USD $2,665, and a fine amounting to USD $267 will be imposed for entering Mecca’s Holy Mosque without a permit. These restrictions are expected to remain in place for some time.

Umrah for international visitors was prohibited in December 2019, and was later banned for locals in March 2020 as the pandemic progressed, until restrictions were eased in October 2020.

The news follows a slight uptick in Saudi Arabia’s reported confirmed cases over the two months, with 904 new cases reported on the 10th April, compared to 369 on the 10th February. Over five million people have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far in the country, according to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health.

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Olivia is currently studying in Cairo as part of her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. She has worked on a number of student-run publications, such as Varsity and The Cambridge Language Collective, and is passionate about exploring Egyptian culture, history and society through journalism.

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