fbpx mmnews

Pakistan remains barred as Saudi Arabia resumes Umrah

Saudi Arabia has resumed Umrah applications from Aug 9. Source: AFP.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is among nine countries whose citizens have not been allowed for Umrah pilgrimage as Saudi Arabia has reopened applications.

Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri Monday said Saudi Arabia has decided to open the Umrah pilgrimage for vaccinated persons from abroad except nine countries including Pakistan

Talking to a private news channel, he said that vaccination was mandatory for pilgrims for would be travelling from Pakistan and they would have a booster shot before departure and upon arrival.

He said a coronavirus test would also be conducted and they would have to undergo 14 days quarantine upon arrival in Saudi Arabia. He said that they were in contact with authorities in Saudi Arabia and hoped that conditions of travelling on Pakistanis would be normalised soon.

It must be mentioned that Saudi Arabia has conditionally allowed travellers who have completed two doses of the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines only after they receive an additional dose of one of the four approved vaccines. The guidelines were issued by the Saudi Arabian e-visa portal for travellers after reopening the entry of vaccinated international visitors on August 1.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia resumes Umrah for foreign pilgrims from Aug 10

The Saudi authorities directed visitors, who have received two doses of the Chinese vaccines including Sinovac and Sinopharm, to get a booster shot of one of the four approved vaccines including Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson.

Saudi Arabia has announced the resumption of Umrah services for pilgrims abroad from August 10 (1st Muharram) following a successful Hajj season.

All countries are allowed to send direct flights except for nine countries which are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Lebanon which require quarantine of 14 days in a third country before arriving in the Kingdom.

It is also required to arrive via an agency accredited by Saudi Arabia’s ministry of Hajj and Umrah and all applicants must be aged above 18 years.

Umrah was suspended in February 2020 due to concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. It resumed for Saudi citizens and residents in the Kingdom from July 25.

Pilgrims should note that specific prayer locations have been designated as per COVID-19 standards. Pilgrims are also required to follow markings on the floor when performing Tawaf as was seen during Hajj and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.