Saudi Arabia: 1 million women perform Umrah since October

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque Affairs said one million women had performed Umrah and offered prayers in the Grand Mosque in total since the gradual resumption of rituals began on October 4.

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The third phase, which started on November 1, permitted pilgrims from abroad to perform the ritual alongside residents of the kingdom.

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Saudi Arabia suspended Umrah in March and significantly downsized the Haj pilgrimage in July by only allowing about 10,000 pilgrims, all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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All visas from abroad that have been filed through accredited agents and the offices of certified Umrah companies have been accepted, provided they fulfilled the necessary requirements.

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The first phase of Umrah, which lasted for 14 days, saw 84,000 pilgrims, including 26,209 women, performing the rituals — 6,000 people per day.

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Some 210,000 pilgrims performed Umrah rituals during the second phase, which lasted for 14 days, at a 15,000-pilgrims capacity per day.

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The third phase saw approximately 500,000 pilgrims performing the rituals.

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The total number of women who performed Umrah in the second and third phases reached 326,603, while those who offered prayers in the Grand Mosque were 669,818 women.

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Paths for the elderly

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Sheikh Abdulrahman Al Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques called for an increase in the number of paths around the Kaaba to accommodate the increased number of pilgrims performing Umrah and to allocate paths for the elderly and people with disabilities, as well as paths for those in wheelchairs.

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Those applying for Umrah from abroad must be between 18 and 50 years old, in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Health. They must also submit their COVID-19 negative RT-PCR test, issued by a reliable laboratory and taken 72 hours prior to leaving for Saudi Arabia.

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Pilgrims must book through the Eatmarna application to perform Umrah, pray in the Grand Mosque, visit the Prophet’s Mosque and pray in the Prophet’s Sacred Chamber in the Prophet’s Mosque, in accordance with the regulations and available capacity. Each pilgrim must also have confirmed return air tickets.

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Pilgrims who have booked only an appointment for prayer cannot perform Umrah because they will not be able to enter the Tawaf area.

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