JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA:
Saudi authorities are set to allow 20,000 domestic and international pilgrims to enter the kingdom to perform Umrah, Saudi Gazette reported on Saturday.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Hisham Bin Saeed said only pilgrims from green list countries, as per the instructions from the Ministry of Health and General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), will be allowed.
He added that the number of pilgrims will be gradually increased during the next period.
The countries currently facing the travel ban - prompted by the continued surge in cases of coronavirus and its variants - are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
Approximately 500 Umrah service businesses and institutions, as well as over 6,000 international Umrah agents, are ready to accept vaccinated foreign pilgrims.
According to Hani Ali Al-Amiri, a member of the National Committee for Hajj and Umrah, aspiring pilgrims may purchase Umrah packages and make all payments using about 30 electronic sites and platforms that are open for worldwide bookings.
The committee member said in a statement that the Umrah visa will only be available to individuals who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In addition, Umrah applicants must be in excellent health and follow protocols designed to protect the safety of foreign pilgrims.
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