According to the latest standing guidelines, Saudi authorities open Umrah for unvaccinated Muslims. This guideline also applies to individuals who have not taken their booster shot and want to travel to Saudi Arabia.
As per the recent updates on COVID-19 infections worldwide, many restrictions have been lifted by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for entry into Saudi Arabia. The latest decision on the pilgrimage states that foreign pilgrims are not required to show a negative RT-PCR test report on their arrival. Additionally, quarantine requirements have been dropped for locals as well as foreign pilgrims.
Restrictions for Umrah for unvaccinated Muslims
However, there are certain conditions affixed to the mandate for partially vaccinated and unvaccinated Muslims. Individuals should not have been infected with COVID-19 or came in contact with someone who has been tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, the once compulsory rule that international Muslims must register for immunization data to get their respective Umrah permits has also been lifted. The pilgrims, therefore, are allowed to take part in offering prayers given they are not infected with COVID-19. Following this, pilgrims still are required to wear a face mask when inside the Mosque and other facilities to remain precautious. However, individuals are allowed to remove masks outside.
Umrah during COVID-19
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah. This pilgrimage does not have any specific dates in the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims perform Umrah to seek blessings of benevolent Allah, ask for his forgiveness, and reinvigorate one’s belief in Islam. The pilgrims who take the spiritual journey of Umrah reap peace and happiness. Umrah is the only Sunnah that was performed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) twice in his life.
The annual religious pilgrimage of Umrah is undertaken by 2 to 3 million people each year. Performing Umrah brings hope for all Muslims around the globe irrespective of their gender, age and location. Visiting the holy Kaaba brings good fortune for the people of the Islamic faith. Muslims require specific necessities to make their way to the holy city. As millions of pilgrims head on to the journey of Umrah each year, the government has had responsibility to provide safe pilgrimage since the onset of COVID-19. Therefore, strict restrictions were imposed on the journey. However, these restrictions are being lifted sequentially by the government as per the changing situations of COVID-19.
Current COVID-19 restrictions
It is advisable for travelers who arrive on a visa to have medical insurance to cover COVID-19. As the concerned authorities have also resumed the holy pilgrimage of Umrah for unvaccinated Muslims, social distancing in the two holy mosques along with the indoor facilities must be maintained. The decision was made by the Saudi government after observing the significant decline in COVID infection rates. Pilgrims should adhere to the current restriction and cooperate with the authorities. Further, one must visit the government website for Hajj and Umrah travels for latest circulars before planning for the pilgrimage. One should also make use of safety mobile applications like Tawakkalna for convenient travel.