Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on Saturday has dropped the maximum age limit of 50 years for overseas pilgrims performing Umrah, local media from the gulf country reported.
According to the Arabic daily Okaz, under the new regulations, elderly overseas pilgrims can come and perform Umrah in accordance with precautionary measures and preventive protocols to stop the spread of the COVID-19.
Overseas pilgrims under the age of 18 will not be allowed to perform Umrah. As for domestic pilgrims, everyone 12 years and older gets a permit to perform Umrah and pray in the Two Holy Mosques, provided they receive two doses of vaccine against the COVID-19.
On November 19, 2021, the ministry has set the age limit of a minimum of 18 years and a maximum of 50 years to book an appointment and issue permits to perform Umrah. The age limit also applies to prayer at the Grand Mosque and Al-Rawdah Sharif at the Prophet’s Mosque and visit to the Prophet’s grave following the easing of restrictions that were imposed since the outbreak of COVID-19.
On November 13, 2021, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has 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.
The relaxed measures include ending distancing for worshippers in the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah where full capacity has been reinstated. However, worshippers are still required to continue wearing face masks at both mosques.
Indian pilgrims permitted direct entry
The Saudi government has also issued the new directives on Thursday, November 25, to allow Indian travellers to directly enter Saudi Arabia from December 1. The travellers are no longer required to spend 14-day quarantine in a third country.
The new directives will also be applicable to travellers from Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia allows direct entry of foreigners who took one vaccine shot
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will allow direct entry from all countries for all people who received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from within the Kingdom, starting from 1 am on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported quoting an official source of the Ministry of Interior that all travelers who administered one dose of any of the approved vaccines against COVID-19 from inside the Kingdom are not required to spend 14 days in quarantine in a third country before their arrival in the Kingdom.
Earlier on August 24, 2021, the Ministry of Interior had issued directives to allow direct entry of fully vaccinated expatriates from countries facing travel bans. Saudi Arabia had temporarily suspended all international flights from March 15, 2020, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.