For the first stage, the Umrah pilgrims only come from Saudi Arabia and expatriates living in Saudi
Saudi Arabia has reopened its Umrah in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the opening is carried out gradually while taking the necessary precautions. The Saudi Interior Ministry said this decision was taken after paying attention to the development of the coronavirus and responding to the hopes of Muslims around the world to carry out Umrah.
The first phase of the Umrah was held on October 4. At this stage, only Saudis and expatriates who live in Saudi territory are allowed to perform Umrah with a limited number of 30 percent or the equivalent of 6,000 pilgrims per day.
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Umrah Pilgrims from Abroad Starting November 1, 2020
In the second stage, the number of congregations is increased to 75 percent on October 18, 2020. This number is detailed in 15 thousand Umrah pilgrims and 40 thousand congregations praying per day. In the third stage, pilgrims from abroad are allowed to perform Umrah on November 1, 2020. The specified capacity is 20 thousand Umrah pilgrims and 60 thousand congregations praying per day.
Meanwhile, in the fourth stage, the Grand Mosque will return to normal conditions. With a note that all risks of Covid-19 disappear completely.
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Congregation Settings Via Application
The entry of the Umrah congregation, prayer congregation, and visitors will be arranged using the ‘I’tamarna’ application. This application was launched by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah to enforce health standards and make it easier for pilgrims to plan their trips. The Ministry of Internal Affairs asked all visitors to the holy site to adhere to precautionary protocols, always wear masks, maintain a safe distance from others, and refrain from physical contact.
“This kingdom empowers all congregations, both from within and outside the country, to be able to carry out the Umrah pilgrimage safely and healthily, and to protect them from the threat of a pandemic,” said the Ministry of Home Affairs.
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Hajj Consul: There has been no official announcement of Umrah from Saudi
Haj Consul Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia Jeddah, Endang Jumali, stated that he had not received an official announcement from the Government of Saudi Arabia regarding the re-opening of the Umrah. Currently, Saudi Arabia has only opened international flights gradually, as announced by the Saudi Ministry of Interior on Sunday, September 13, 2020, local time.
“Regarding Umrah, there has been no official announcement. The statement from the Saudi Minister of Internal Affairs confirmed that the plan for the permit to reopen the umrah implementation will be announced in stages, and will be decided later based on the development of the pandemic,” said Endang through a written statement received by Dream.
Endang said that his party continues to communicate with the Saudi authorities to get the latest information on developments in the situation amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes decisions regarding the opening of the Umrah. “We are continuing to update the Saudi decision regarding Umrah, including exploring the meaning of the gradual announcement, whether it will be opened to local residents first or what. We are still clarifying this,” he said.
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Will Be Updated 30 Days Before The Beginning Of The Year
He said the Saudi Ministry of Home Affairs’ statement was more on an opening flight and port permits after January 1, 2021. This stipulation will also be updated 30 days before the set date. “If needed, the (Saudi) Ministry of Health can submit a request to establish preventive health requirements for passengers and transportation while traveling, at airport terminals, ports, and stations,” said Endang.
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Access to Saudi Arabia is still limited
With the reopening of international flights, the Saudis allow their citizens to travel as long as they meet the terms and conditions set out. This decree applies to Royal employees who have official duties, employees of diplomatic representatives, consulates, as well as Saudi attaches abroad, employees of public and private institutions, and Saudi citizens who work in the country.
In addition, exceptions also apply to businessmen whose businesses require traveling between countries, patients who have to seek medical treatment abroad, and Saudi students who need to fly abroad for study purposes. “The Saudis also allow the entry of non-Saudis who have exit and re-entry visas, work visas, residence permits or visit visas,” said Endang.