Saudi Arabia: Encircling tracks around Kaaba upped to 25

Cairo: The number of tracks designated for encircling the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque has increased by 11 tracks to reach 25, a Saudi official has said.

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The General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has rearranged the tracks in the circumambulation courtyard in the holy site, introducing more tracks, Eng. Osama Al Hejeili, the head of the Grouping Directorate, said.

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Four tracks are designated for the elderly worshippers and people with special needs.

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“This is part of efforts to ensure comfort for the Umrah pilgrims while implementing precautionary measures and physical distancing for their safety,” he added.

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The official said that the General Presidency is operating at full capacity during the current holy month of Ramadan to serve the Umrah pilgrims and has allocated the whole circumambulation courtyard of the Grand Mosque for the pilgrims. He urged the Umrah pilgrims to abide by the timings specified to them to have access to the mosque and perform the rituals as permitted via the smartphone app “Etamarna”.

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They have also been exhorted to wear face masks and observe distancing as part of the anti-virus steps.

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Saudi Arabia has increased capacity of the Grand Mosque in Ramadan to reach 50,000 Umrah pilgrims and 100,000 worshippers per day. Ramadan is usually a peak season for the Umrah or minor pilgrimage.

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iEarlier this month, Saudi authorities announced that only “immunised” people against COVID-19 will be allowed to perform the Umrah, and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina starting from the beginning of Ramadan.

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The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has defined the eligible “immunised” categories as those who have received two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19; those receiving a single dose of inoculation at least 14 days in advance; and those who have recovered from the virus infection.

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