Mecca Reopens After Seven Months For Umrah Pilgrimage

Mecca Reopens After Seven Months For Umrah Pilgrimage
Image by Camera Eye

On Sunday, The Saudi authorities partially allowed the year-round Umrah pilgrimage after it’s been shut for almost seven months after a coronavirus outbreak. Muslims with masks surrounded the holiest site while maintaining social distancing on Sunday, many worshippers have come in batches to the Grand Mosque to perform the ritual of circling the sacred Kaaba. Kaaba is a cubic structure where Muslims throughout the world pray. 

The pilgrimage that can be taken anytime and which usually attracts millions of Muslims across the globe every year. It has finally reopened but in a limited capacity. Saudi Hajj Minister Mohammad Benten stated that it would be restored in three phases, 6,000 people per day will be allowed in the first phase to do the umrah within a time period. 

A pontoon of anticipations has been ratified to avoid any kind of outbreaks, affirmed by state media.

There is a revered Black Stone that is kept in the eastern corner of the Kaaba, and there is a custom to touch it during the visit. The Grand Mosque is going to sterilise before and after each group of pilgrims. 

Each group of approximately 20 or 25 worshippers are going to be followed by medical teams, including health workers in case of any emergency, as mentioned by Benten.

In the second phase, which will commence from October 18 will allow 15,000 pilgrims every day, but visitors from other countries will be allowed in the third phase. The third phase will be effective from November, where pilgrims from abroad will be permitted, and the capacity will be up to 20,000 people.

It has been decided that not more than 40,000 people will be allowed at one point of time which includes worshippers, health workers, medical teams etc. to perform at the mosque. The numbers will increase to up to 60, 000 people by the third phase as a state by the interior ministry.