Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has approved the entry of individuals vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in a move that will enable Muslims to take part in Haj and Umrah, the vaccine’s developers said on Sunday, December 5. The move will be effective from January 1, 2022.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed the development of Sputnik V, said in a statement, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has granted approval for entry of individuals vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine starting from January 1, 2022.”
It further said that the decision will enable Muslims from all over the world vaccinated with Sputnik V to participate in the Haj and the Umrah pilgrimages to Islam’s holiest sites in the cities of Makkah and Madinah.
Foreign travellers who have received the Sputnik vaccine will have to undergo a 48-hour quarantine and a PCR examination.
With this, Sputnik has joined the list of other approved vaccines — Pfizer BioNTech, Comirnaty, Oxford AstraZeneca, Covishield, SK Bioscience, Vaxzevria, Moderna, Spikevax and Johnson & Johnson.
Saudi Arabia has joined more than 100 countries accepting visitors vaccinated with the Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine.
On December 1, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that the institutional quarantine is not required for those foreign Umrah pilgrims who have taken two doses of COVID-19 vaccines approved in the Kingdom.
On November 27, the ministry had set a minimum age of 18 years and has dropped the maximum age limit of 50 years for overseas pilgrims performing Umrah, as well as the permit for prayer at the Grand Mosque and Al-Rawdah Sharif at the Prophet’s Mosque and visit the Prophet’s grave following the easing of restrictions that were imposed following the COVID-19 outbreak.
On November 13, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched a service enabling overseas Umrah pilgrims to obtain permits for performing the rituals in the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Pilgrims will also be permitted to offer their respects to Prophet Mohammed in Medina through the health apps Eatmarna and Tawakkalna after registering in the platform Qudum.