Saudi Arabia issues 13,000 Umrah permits to vaccinated pilgrims aged 12 to 18

People will need to show their vaccination status for entry to holy sites

Muslim worshippers pray during Ramadan in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. AFP

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has said Umrah is now open to vaccinated youngsters aged between 12 and 18.

The ministry has issued more than 13,000 permits for this age group, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The permits also allow them to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Dr Abdul Fattah Mashat, Saudi deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said people could obtain permits by registering on the Umrah and Eatmarna apps launched "to ensure safety and health of those wishing to perform the rituals of Umrah".

He said the ministry had worked in collaboration with relevant authorities, before the start of the Umrah season, to apply effective "mechanisms and create a safe and easy environment for the pilgrims throughout their trip to achieve security, safety and human health", while adhering to health procedures established by the ministry.

Pilgrims will need to show their vaccination status using the Tawakkalna app for entry to the holy sites.

Saudi Arabia started receiving Umrah requests from abroad on Monday, nearly 18 months after foreign entry was banned because of the pandemic.

The ministry also said the number of pilgrims permitted has been increased to two million a month.

Pilgrims coming from outside Saudi Arabia must provide their vaccination certificates, approved by the authorities in their country and by the kingdom.

Pilgrims travelling from abroad must comply with the institutional quarantine procedures, SPA reported.

Updated: August 10, 2021, 9:04 AM