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Covid-19 : Saudi Arabia to allow only immunized pilgrims to perform Umrah

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Saudi authorities announced, Monday, that people who received the vaccine against Covid-19 will be able to perform Umrah, an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of the year.

According to a press release from the Hajj ministry, the measure applies to the people who received the two doses of the vaccine and those who received a single dose for at least fourteen days.

During Ramadan, Muslims from around the world head to Saudi Arabia to preform Umrah. Suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Umrah resumed in October with a series of precautionary measures.

Initially, only 6,000 Saudis and foreign residents in Saudi Arabia were allowed each day to perform Umrah. The number then rose to 15,000 per day for Umrah while 40,000 worshipers were admitted to the Grand Mosque for daily prayers, AFP said.

Worshipers from overseas were allowed to perform Umrah from November 1, but the health ministry selects countries based on the progress of the pandemic.

More than 390,000 cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the country, including more than 6,700 deaths, and more than 5 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In early March, Saudi Arabia's health ministry said that only people vaccinated against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) will be allowed to attend this year's Hajj, adding that «the Covid-19 vaccine is mandatory for those who wish to come to Hajj and will be one of the main conditions (to receive a visa)».

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