Saudi Arabia announced that it will allow the performance of Umrah from within the Kingdom from the fourth of October, provided that it gradually increases the number of pilgrims during stages, after a 7-month hiatus due to the Corona epidemic.
According to the official Saudi News Agency, quoting the Ministry of the Interior, the authorities will now allow 6,000 citizens and residents to perform Umrah daily, which is 30% of the modified capacity of 20,000, in order to take into account the precautionary health measures.
At a later stage, that percentage will increase to 75% of this capacity on 18 October.
The agency added that the government will allow pilgrims from certain countries considered safe in relation to the outbreak of the pandemic to perform rituals from the first of November, with 100% of the modified capacity until the end of the pandemic.
The Ministry of Interior stated that the decision to resume Umrah and the visit was taken "in response to the aspiration of many Muslims at home and abroad to perform Umrah and visit rituals."
The Kingdom had "temporarily" suspended the performance of Umrah in early March, after 19 million people performed Umrah last year.
The unprecedented precautionary measures also included the Hajj, whose performance this year was limited to about 10 thousand pilgrims, all from within the Kingdom, while last year witnessed about 2.5 million pilgrims performing this obligation.
Official data show that Hajj and Umrah generate about $ 12 billion annually for the Kingdom.