Saudi Arabia: Ramadan protocols for Two Holy Mosques announced

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque, has announced Ramadan protocols for Umrah performers and worshippers during the holy month, local media reported.

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The authority stressed its readiness to welcome pilgrims and worshippers during the fasting month, with strict COVID-19 precautionary measures in place at the Grand Mosque and Prophet Mosque to ensure safety of worshippers.

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Sheikh Dr Abdul Rahman Al Sudais, head of the General Presidency, stressed that social distancing and wearing of masks will be mandatory for visitors, with thermal cameras monitoring the area.

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He urged worhsippers to get themselves vaccinated. An inoculation campaign has already been held for all workers at the Grand Mosque.

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As per Ramadan protocols, the mataf (the area around the Kaaba) will be used for circumambulation only, with the three paths closest to the Kaaba allocated for the elderly and people with disabilities.

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The Grand Mosque will also be cleaned and sterilised up to 10 times a day. Approximately 5,000 workers will carry out disinfection operations around the clock, including the daily sterilisation of the carpets after every prayer.

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While Zamzam water coolers will not be available, up to 200,000 bottles of Zamzam water will be provided on a daily basis.

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Iftar meals will be provided for those who wish to break their fast at the Grand Mosque or at the Prophet’s Mosque. However, visitors will only be permitted to bring water and dates for personal consumption.

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No sharing or distribution of food and water will be allowed.

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Up to 13 million worshippers have visited the mosques since October, when Saudi resumed the Umrah pilgrimage following a seven-month suspension. All visitors have been required to register through an app to ensure entry.

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Saudi Arabia on Sunday reported 531 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 388,325 and the death toll to 6,650.

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