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.
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The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announces the procedure and health requirements to issue #Umrah, prayer, and visit permits during the holy month of Ramadan. pic.twitter.com/uqRcBaCtgt
— Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (@MoHU_En) April 5, 2021
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.
غرامة مالية قدرها (10,000) ريال لمن يضبط قادمًا لأداء العمرة دون تصريح في #رمضان، و(1000) ريال لمن يحاول دخول الحرم المكي الشريف دون تصريح. pic.twitter.com/d9WLykcjFb
— وزارة الداخلية (@MOISaudiArabia) April 8, 2021
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.