Riyadh: Some 10,000 foreign pilgrims are arriving in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah after a seven-month pause because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pilgrims must isolate for three days after arrival before being transported to religious sites, according to Amr Al-Maddah, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah.
Al-Maddah said the testing of pilgrims – who are all 50 years old or younger – for COVID-19 will be continuous and any cases detected will be closely monitored.
Millions of Muslims from around the world usually travel to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages. The two share common rites but the Hajj, held once a year, is a lengthier ritual that a once-in-a-lifetime duty for Muslims.
Saudi Arabia, which held a largely symbolic Hajj earlier this year limited to domestic worshippers, began allowing citizens and residents to perform the Umrah last month at 30-percent capacity, or 6,000 pilgrims a day.