On Tuesday, pilgrims considered immune from the Coronavirus wandered around the Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. The pilgrims who participated in the Umrah inaugurated the month of Ramadan.
The believers, who wore face masks, were allowed to enter the Grand Mosque in small groups to wander the Kaaba seven times. All religious rituals had to be performed with strict observance of the rules of distance.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj Affairs ruled earlier this month that only pilgrims “protected against the Coronavirus” were eligible to obtain the necessary permit for the Hajj. That ministry distinguishes between three categories: people who have already received two vaccines, people who received the first vaccine at least 14 days ago, and people who have recovered from Covid-19.
According to the Saudi state media, as a result of the new policy, approximately 50,000 pilgrims and 100,000 worshipers can now visit the Grand Mosque in Makkah every day.
It remains unclear whether the current policy will also apply to the Hajj, the largest pilgrimage to take place from July 17-27 this year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, like many other countries, is currently facing a spike in Corona numbers.
In July last year, Saudi Arabia decided to drastically reduce the Hajj. In the end, only 10,000 pilgrims were allowed from Saudi Arabia itself, a fraction of the 2.5 million Muslims who traveled to the country from all over the world in 2019.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has so far recorded more than 400,000 cases of corona out of more than 34 million people. As far as is known, at least 6,700 people have died in the country due to the Coronavirus.