Coronavirus: Emiratis going for Umrah must have a negative PCR test

Pilgrims should also quarantine for three days after arriving in Saudi Arabia

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Emirati pilgrims who wish to perform Umrah must present a negative Covid-19 test before boarding the flight to Saudi Arabia, UAE authorities said on Wednesday.

The UAE General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf) said visitors should also quarantine for three days after arriving in the kingdom.

The test must be taken 72 hours prior to departure and the certificate should be issued by an approved UAE laboratory, it said.

All pilgrims must download the Tawakalna app on arrival and submit a request to perform the Umrah after three days.

The Saudi Ministry of Health launched the app to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Umrah is a short pilgrimage that can be performed by Muslims anytime of the year.

Saudi Arabia has allowed foreign pilgrims of a certain age group – 18 to 50 – to perform the ritual from November 1.

“The age group must be compatible with the requirements laid down by the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Awqaf said.

Pilgrims need to pre-book their Umrah and reserve their slot to perform the ritual, or to pray at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

They must also book any visits to the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah and to the section of the mosque known as Al Rawda Al Sharifah – the area between Prophet Mohammed's grave and his pulpit.

All bookings can be done on the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s eatamarna app.

Earlier, entry to the Al Rawdha was managed by security guards but now all visits must be booked through the app to limit overcrowding.

Each Umrah performer must also carry a return ticket.