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Preparations complete to receive Umrah pilgrims as second phase begins Sunday
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 10 - 2020

MAKKAH — The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque has completed all preparations to deal with the huge flow of Umrah pilgrims and worshipers as the second phase of the gradual resumption of the pilgrimage and visits to the Two Holy Mosques is set to begin on Oct. 18 (Rabi Al-Awwal 1).
More than 600,000 worshipers will be issued permits to perform prayers at the Grand Mosque along with over 250,000 Umrah pilgrims as part of the second phase, which will conclude on Oct. 31.
Hani Haider, the spokesman of the presidency, said that the presidency has worked out an integrated system of services and procedures as part of beefing up preventive precautions against coronavirus.
"The presidency has double the number its sterilization and disinfection campaigns in the Grand Mosque and facilities attached to it before the start of the second phase. The Grand Mosque is currently being sterilized 10 times a day, and special paths have been allocated for worshipers from the assembly points they choose while registering for the pilgrimage through Eatmarna application," he added.
Haider urged the pilgrims to strictly comply with the precautionary measures and preventive protocols to stem the spread of coronavirus.
"The pilgrims should abide by the time slot specified in the permits issued to them and must maintain the deadline for the entry and exit of the Grand Mosque. As part of the directives, the pilgrims must maintain the physical distance of one and a half meters from each other, wear face masks, sanitize hands regularly and cooperate with the employees of the presidency and the authorities working to serve pilgrims and worshipers," he said while stressing that pilgrims and worshipers should not sit for eating and drinking at the holy mosque.
Worshipers will also be permitted to visit Rawdah Sharif and the old mosque area at the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah from Oct. 18 onward. The extensions and courtyards of the Prophet's Mosque were opened for worshipers for obligatory prayers from May 31 this year. Worshipers need to register through the Eatmarna App to obtain permits to perform Umrah as well as to visit the Grand Mosque and Rawdah Sharif.
Foreign pilgrims will be allowed to perform Umrah and visit the Rawdah from Nov. 1, which marks the beginning of the third phase of the gradual lifting of the temporary suspension of the service.
The first phase of the resumption of the Umrah service began on Oct. 4, after a hiatus of seven months.


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