The Saudi authorities announced this Monday that only people vaccinated against the covid-19 will be allowed to make the “Omra”, the short pilgrimage to Mecca, from the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The Hajj minister, and in a reference to the holy month of Ramadan that begins this year in mid-April, said in a statement that “only immunized people”Against the new coronavirus will be allowed to perform“ Omra ”or prayers at the Great Mosque in Mecca from the beginning of this celebration.
The measure applies in particular to persons who have received the two doses vaccine and those who received it, at least 14 days ago, the first dose.
Usually, Ramadan has a large influx of faithful to Mecca, coming from Saudi Arabia and many other countries.
The small pilgrimage, suspended in March 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, was resumed in October with several precautionary measures.
In a first phase, only 6,000 Saudis and foreign residents in Saudi Arabia have been authorized daily for “Omra”, which can be carried out throughout the year as opposed to “Hajj”, which only takes place once a year.
The number then increased to 15.000 for “Omra”, while 40.000 faithful were admitted to the Grand Mosque for daily prayers.
Muslims from abroad were authorized as of November 1, but the Ministry of Health selects countries on the basis of the evolution of the pandemic.
In Saudi Arabia, more than 390,000 cases of covid-19 have been reported, including more than 6,700 deaths, and at least five million people have already received at least the first dose of the vaccine, out of a population of 34 million.
The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 2,853,908 deaths worldwide, resulting from more than 131.2 million cases of infection, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.