Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) expects more than 10 million Muslim pilgrims to attend the new season of Umrah or lesser pilgrimage, a forecast reminiscent of pre-pandemic numbers, local media reported.
“It is expected that over 10 million Umrah pilgrims will enter [the kingdom] in the Hejira year 1444 and they will enjoy constant care from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah,” Hani Al Omari, a member of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah was quoted as saying by the Gulf News.
The new Umrah season will begin on Muharram 1, 1444 corresponding to July 30, 2022.
The companies inside Saudi Arabia and overseas agents have been readied for serving Umrah pilgrims in the new season, application for which were opened on July 14.
In October 2020, Saudi Arabia resumed Umrah after a suspension of nearly seven months due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The first phase of the plan, which began on October 4, allowed 6,000 daily pilgrims from inside the kingdom to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The second went into effect on October 18, allowing about 40,000 worshipers and 10,000 pilgrims per day to enter the site.
Up to 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 daily worshippers were allowed into the mosque according to the third phase that started in November. Ramadan is usually the peak of the Umrah season.
In March, Saudi authorities lifted most COVID-19 restrictions. This included scrapping physical distancing among worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mohammed Mosque in Madinah.