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Saudi Arabia welcomes foreign Umrah pilgrims for first time after imposing ban

Saudi Arabia has welcomed the first batch of foreign Umrah pilgrims on Sunday after the kingdom had suspended entry to the foreign visitors for months as part of efforts to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshippers from inside and outside of the country will be allowed to enter the Two Holy mosques and their courtyards, as per the current third phase of eased restrictions.

The pilgrims have been permitted to pray in the Two Holy Mosques and visit the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina – the chambers where the Prophet Mohammed was buried.

Coronavirus SOPs have been put in place to ensure the safety of all visitors, a spokesman for the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque said.

The spokesperson said that social distancing will be compulsory at all times to avoid crowding.

“The courtyards are sanitized repeatedly all the day using more than 2,500 liters, of environmentally-friendly sterilizers, the spokesperson said, adding that “more than 300 sanitizers have also been placed around the Two Holy Mosques”.

The spokesperson further revealed that medical teams are also stationed in various areas around the courtyards and isolation and medical check-up room has been designated in case of a suspected case of coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia has so far reported 46,642,965 coronavirus cases and registered 1,203,256 deaths.

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