Second phase of Umrah return set to begin on Sunday

The second phase of Umrah will resume on Sunday with 15,000 pilgrims allowed to perform rituals and 40,000 worshippers; offering daily obligatory prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The operations at the Grand Mosque willtake place amid strict social distancing measures; aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Saudi authorities suspende Umrah pilgrimages on March 1 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic but last month the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah agreed to a return of Umrah operations starting on Oct. 4.

The first stage allowed Umrah for Saudis and expats residing in the Kingdom; before expanding to greater capacity and ultimately allowing pilgrims from outside of Saudi Arabia.

However, the decision to allow foreign pilgrims; will take place after reviewing the pandemic situation and the number of cases around the world.

The ministry also has launched a smartphone app called Eatmarna to issue Umrah permits to prospective pilgrims. Users must ensure their registration with the Ministry of Health’s Tawakkalna app to allow authorities; in order to check on their health status and eligibility to perform Umrah rituals.

Furthermore the app faetured a new set of permits for pilgrims on Tuesday.
“The new permits include one for prayers in the Grand Mosque; one for prayers in the Prophet’s Sacred Chamber in the Prophet’s Mosque, and one for greeting the Prophet;” a ministry official said.