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Saudi Arabia to allow only vaccinated pilgrims to enter Mecca

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Srinagar: Only pilgrims and worshippers who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus or have recovered will be allowed into the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced.

Permits for Umrah (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) and to visit the Grand Mosque will be granted to those who have received two Covid-19 vaccine jabs; those who have received a first dose at least 14 days before their visit to Medina and Mecca; and those who have had the virus and recovered, ‘Arab News’ quoted the Ministry as saying on Monday.

Before embarking on a trip, a visitor’s vaccination status will have to be registered on Saudi Arabia’s Covid-19 app, ‘Tawakkalna’, which was launched last year to track the Covid-19 situation in the Kingdom.

According to the Ministry, the people who wish to visit the two mosques or perform Umrah will have to register via the Tawakkalna app and the Umrah app, ‘Eatmarna’.

It added that the two apps are the only platforms that issue genuine permits.

Nearly 10,000 Grand Mosque workers have already been inoculated as part of the Ramzan operational plan, ‘Arab News’ reported.

Five areas will be available for prayers at the Grand Mosque.

More than 13 million worshippers wearing masks and observing physical distancing rules have visited the mosques since the seven-month prayer and Umrah suspension was lifted last October.

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