Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to the holy places in Makkah, and Medina undertook any time of the year while taking care of the preventive measurements against COVID-19. Umrah During Corona is going to be a different experience and we are going to share every detail in this article.
Saudi Arabia closed its borders (Land, Sea, Air) on 27-02-2020 for all the worshippers and tourists. Initially, the borders were supposed to be closed for only one month. But due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the border closure gets extension till 18 November 2020.
After which, only a limited group of pilgrims, tourists, and worshippers was allowed to enter KSA and perform UMRAH by booking a slot through the government-issued application “Eatmarna” from November 2020.
Table of contents
- Guidelines to perform Umrah in 2021
- Complete Procedure for Umrah in 2021
- Pilgrims from Abroad coming for Umrah in 2021:
- Violations of Umrah permits during Umrah in 2021:
- Monitoring of Health conditions and Disinfection of The Grand Mosque
Guidelines to perform Umrah in 2021
Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced guidelines for issuing Umrah and prayer permits for the month of Ramadan.
However, Immunizations are high on the priority list. No worshiper can enter the Grand Mosque of Makkah or the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina without receiving at least one dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
Since the seven-month suspension of prayers ended last October, millions of worshipers wearing masks have visited mosques while maintaining a physical distance. According to the Ministry report, an estimated 1.5 million worshipers have gone to the Grand Mosque during the first ten days of the Holy RAMADAN.
Who can perform Umrah as of now in Ramadan 2021?
According to Dr. Amr Al-Muddada, Deputy Minister for Hajj and Umrah Services, No worshiper can enter the Grand Mosque of Makkah or the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina without receiving at least one dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
The categories of people who will be eligible to get UMRAH permit during the RAMADAN are mentioned below:
(1)- Those who have received Two dosages of COVID-19 Vaccine
(2)- Those who have received a single dose of Vaccine at least two weeks before performing UMRAH and have a negative PCR report.
(3)- Those who have once recovered from COVID-19.
Operational Capacity of Grand Mosque of Makkah:
The worshippers’ capacity in the Grand Mosque in Mecca is also higher. It is because ministry lately issues “immunized” UMRAH policy on 06-04-2021.
Around 50000 vaccinated UMRAH pilgrimage and 100,000 local worshippers will now get GRAND mosque visit e-permit daily. This is in accordance with the Umrah policy for RAMADAN 2021. Government apps Tawakkalna and Eatmarna gives out the permit for pilgrims.
Increase in the Number of permit for Umrah in 2021:
The default operational capability is schedule to update daily. It is now between two and a half to three times of pre Covid era. The overall state of health is what will be taken into account.
Operational capability is going to increase as more people are aware of the extraordinary conditions the world is facing. Special measures need to be taken in these circumstances.
Moreover, The more people gets the vaccine, the lower the risk. Soon people will be able to return to everyday life, and everyone will be welcomed to see the Grand Mosque.
Piligrims of Other Countries:
Yes, pilgrims from many countries will perform Umrah. However, the Ministry of Interior announced the suspension of entry into the kingdom of immigrants from 20 countries. Moreover, This is to prevent coronavirus spread, which came into force on 3 February. In addition to Saudi nationals, foreign diplomats, health professionals, and their families are exempt from the measure. The countries which are banned by the Saudi Arabian Transport and Health Ministry are mentioned in this article.
Vaccine Condition for Local and international Pilgrims:
On 20 August 2020, a royal decree stated that all persons wishing to enter the Grand Mosque must receive the COVID-19 Vaccine. Local Pilgrims and pilgrims coming abroad must have a certificate indicating that they have been vaccinated.
Complete Procedure for Umrah in 2021
It is worthy of keeping in mind that the operational capacity of the Grand Mosque has already been determined based on the security measures taken by the Ministry of Health.
A pilgrim’s location can be saved using the Eatmarna app and the Tawakkalna app. Once the place is secured, an entry permit is issued to the worshiper or pilgrims, who can present certificates at the reception center.
At the reception center, Security personal checks the date and validation of the permit. The Saudi officers verify the status of the permit holder’s immunizations. The pilgrim must pay for transportation services (Before arriving in Makkah) to licensed transport companies. These companies will ensure safe passage by disinfecting vehicles and leaving space between seats. Designated buses are going to take Pilgrims to the Grand Mosque.
Pilgrims at the Kadai Center are going to the King Abdul Aziz Gate. The ones at the Al-Zahir Center are going to the Al-Shabika Gate. Pilgrims are released according to their designated centers. After that, their permits will be rechecked for security reasons before performing Umrah and praying at the allotted time.
The Other way to perform Umrah in 2021:
Saudi Ministry of Health and Hajj and Umrah provided another way for pilgrims to perform Umrah.
This is done by booking a room in the Grand Mosque and any hotel overlooking the central region. Hotels can now help those who book a room to apply for Umrah during their stay.
Worshipers interested in the service can start the process by making a reservation at a hotel, which can help provide a safe place for the guest within the Grand Mosque’s pre-arranged capacity.
Pilgrims from Abroad coming for Umrah in 2021:
As far as the pilgrims from abroad are concerned, if their COVID-19 health status has not been uploaded to the Tawakkalna system, they will need to visit a health care center to get all their help.
The official is going to verify their health status. He is going to update it according to the vaccination certificate of their home country.
Once their health status is updated on TAWAKKALNA, a suitable date will be fixed for these pilgrims to perform Umrah according to the operational capacity of the Grand Mosque.
Arrangements at the Airports for the Pilgrims:
There is a top-level association between the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, security service providers, Public Transport Authority, the Royal Commission for Makkah and Holy Sites, and the Medina Region Development Authority to overcome the spread of COVID-19 in KSA this year.
There are standards and protocols for transportation in place. It includes accommodation for pilgrims or visitors traveling between cities or towns who need to be incarcerated after screening.
These guidelines and conventions are going to ensure the security of both local and foreign visitors. Risk control measures aim to reduce the number of incidents that could prompt a decrease in the number of travelers or a potential suspension of Umrah.
Violations of Umrah permits during Umrah in 2021:
Violators will be fined SAR 10,000 (2,666 USD) for performing Umrah without permission. Moreover a SAR 1,000 (267 USD) for worshiping in the Grand Mosque without permission.
It shows that formal mechanisms is in place to punish violators and used when needed. However, most people are observing the current rules and health protocols.
Purpose of Penalty on Violations:
The system of fines is in place, so the Grand Mosque in Madinah and Makkah, the Mosque of the Prophet Moses, as a whole, don’t become a means of spreading the virus.
That is why there is room for pre-arranged pilgrims at every place.
The desire to offer Umrah, Tarawih prayers, or night prayers in the magnificent mosque is understandable. However, the world is witnessing an extraordinary situation, and in these circumstances, everyone should come together.
Putting fines in place to prevent people from violating. There violation could be a threat to pilgrims and those working at the Grand Mosque.
Monitoring of Health conditions and Disinfection of The Grand Mosque
Field teams are working round the clock. They are ensuring that the condition of the pilgrims and their health protocols and requirements are followed. Security agencies are cooperating with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in this regard. Awareness-raising is in place by all the concerned agencies.
All buses, with ticket counters, configuration, and collection points, are regularly gets disinfect from the virus. Companies have studied the process, and a special team has set up disinfection and sterilization intervals.
Buses are disinfected after each cycle, while reception centers are disinfected every half hour because of safety measures.
We Wish you best of Luck for your Umrah in 2021 and beyond.