The holiest site for prayers in Islam, Saudi Arabia has reopened it for the first time in 7 months. The Umrah pilgrimage was also expanded to accommodate 15,000 worshippers as the COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed.
According to the report, mask-clad Saudi citizens and residents of the kingdom were allowed to pray inside the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah, amid what authorities called extensive health precautions.
“Citizens and residents have performed Salat Al-Fajr (dawn prayers) at the Grand Mosque today as (authorities) start implementing the second phase of the gradual resumption of umrah,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Earlier in October, Saudi Arabia allowed up to 6,000 citizens and residents per day to perform the umrah — a Muslim pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time — after it was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Under the second stage that began Sunday, the number of umrah pilgrims was increased to 15,000 per day.
A maximum of 40,000 people — including umrah pilgrims — will now be allowed to perform daily prayers at the mosque.
In the third stage, starting from 1st Nov, visitors from abroad will be allowed. The limit on Umrah pilgrims will be increased to 20,000, with a total of 60,000 worshippers permitted.