Saudi Arabia adds new permits in Umrah app for prayers at grand mosques

Kingdom says new permits will be added in the app 'Eatmarna' gradually


News Desk October 14, 2020
Makkah's Grand Mosque, earlier in October, opened its doors to the first group of pilgrims performing Umrah in first phase, amid strict precautionary and preventive measures. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Saudi Arabia has added a new set of permits for pilgrims in the Umrah app "Eatmarna" for the prayers in holy mosques.

“The new permits include one for prayers in the Grand Mosque, one (for) prayers in the Prophet’s (PBUH) Sacred Chamber in the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque, and one for greeting the Prophet (PBUH),” the undersecretary of Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and supervisor of the app in the kingdom, Abdulrahman Shams, was quoted as saying by Arab News on Tuesday.

Shams added that the permits would be added in the app — started with the Umrah permit only — gradually.

Earlier this month, Makkah's Grand Mosque opened its doors to the first group of pilgrims performing Umrah in first phase, amid strict precautionary and preventive measures.

The mosque was opened for public after about a seven-month break.

The group of Umrah pilgrims entered the mosque after applying through the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's Eatmarna App.

To accommodate a quota of 6,000 pilgrims per day, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has prepared five meeting points where pilgrims will meet and join health professionals on buses to the Grand Mosque.

To welcome the pilgrims, thermal cameras were placed at the entrances and inside the halls of the mosque to monitor body temperature spikes and issue alerts if necessary.

The Eatmarna app is available on smartphones (Android and via the App Store) and aims to enable pilgrims to plan their Umrah during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in advance.

Saudi Arabia had issued fresh guidelines for passengers from Pakistan and other countries during the coronavirus pandemic after announcing plans for gradually lifting travel restrictions.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) stated in its circular sent to airlines that passengers (non-Saudis) will submit their negative PCR test reports from a verified laboratory abroad. The test report must be done no later than 72 hours before the scheduled departure to any of the airports in the kingdom.

It also said that the condition for PCR test is limited to non-Saudis only who are over the age of eight years. The guidelines also include that ‘different regulations of the departure country must be considered and observed in determining the appropriate age to conduct Covid-19 (PCR) test for children.’

The aviation authority had earlier directed all foreign airlines including Pakistan to strictly implement the prevention measures during flights to Saudi Arabia.

The story originally published in Arab News

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