The Saudi ministry for hajj and umrah announced that visits to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad will only be allowed for men
Saudi Arabia’s ministry of hajj and umrah has banned women from applying for a permit to visit the tomb of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, in an announcement made over the weekend.
Visits are now limited only to male pilgrims, while women may obtain a permit to visit the Holy Rawdah - the area between the site of the home of the Prophet and the minbar - at the Masjid al-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, in the sacred city of Medina.
It is not yet clear why the ministry took this decision, and no official statement was released.
Umrah permits are usually obtained through a special phone application launched by the ministry called Eatmarna. Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage that can be carried out at any time of the year, unlike the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca which only happens once a year.
The ministry said the Eatmarna app will regularly be updated to let pilgrims know what time slots are available for them to book, requiring at least 30 days in between each visit.
Saudi Arabia: Overseas Muslims’ Umrah repetition restricted
Foreign pilgrims are allowed to perform Umrah for 3 times at most during stay
January 15, 2022
Based on the 10-day interval for repeating Umrah, the overseas Muslims could undertake the rituals three times at most during their 30-day stay.
Cairo: Saudi authorities have said that a recent decision restricting repetition of Umrah or lesser pilgrimage to a 10-day gap also applies to overseas Muslims as the kingdom is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 infections.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has said that pilgrims arriving from abroad are allowed to stay in the country for 30 days and have to meet certain requirements, the Saudi newspaper Okaz has reported.
The Overseas Muslims, coming to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, have to be aged 12 and above, and show status of immunization on the health app Tawakkalna.
Based on the 10-day interval for repeating Umrah, the overseas Muslims could undertake the rituals three times at most during their 30-day stay, the paper said, citing the ministry.
Earlier this month, the ministry attributed its decision on restricting Umrah repetition to recent precautions against COVID-19 reimposed in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.
In October 2020, Saudi Arabia resumed Umrah after about seven months of suspension due to the global pandemic.
Last month, Saudi Arabia reimposed wearing face masks and social distancing in outdoor and indoor places amid an increase in COVID-19 infections.
Authorities also reintroduced distancing in the two holy mosques after it was cancelled in October.
MAKKAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has shut down rumors regarding suspension of Umrah due to increase in COVID-19.
A Ministry source told Haramain Sharifain that the Ministry has no plans to suspend Umrah and instead it calls on visitors and pilgrims to adhere to the precautionary measures decided by the competent authorities.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques recently reintroduced Physical and Social Distancing in the Two Holy Mosques after a rise in COVID-19 cases was noted.
“We call on every pilgrim and visitor to adhere to physical distancing and wearing of masks at all times as this will ensure your safety and the safety of others.” The Imam of the Grand Mosque Sheikh Yasir Al Dossary announced before commencing the afternoon prayers.
What Are The Current SOPs For The Two Holy Mosques? As of 3rd February 2022, the following rules and regulations are being mandated in the Two Holy Mosques:
1. Mandatory Requirement to be ‘Immune’ to be able to enter the Two Holy Mosques and obtain permits
Immune Status on the Health Application Tawakalana is a mandatory requirement to enter Masjid Al Nabawi and be able to obtain permits for Umrah, Prayers in Masjid Al Haram and Rawdah Al Shareefah and Ziyarah.
2. People of Ages 12 and above are allowed to visit the Two Holy Mosques
Immune People from ages 12 and above are allowed to visit the Two Holy Mosques from Saudi Arabia and around the world. Children under the ages of 12 whether immune or not are at this time not allowed to enter the Two Holy Mosques or its courtyards.
3. One Umrah every 10 days
Due to the reapplication of precautionary measures by the Ministry of Interior, to limit crowds there is a restriction to perform one Umrah every 10 days
4. Mandatory Requirement to wear a Mask and Physically Distance
Due to the reapplication of precautionary measures by the Ministry of Interior, it is a mandatory requirement to wear a mask at all times in the Two Holy Mosques, physically distance during prayers and to one’s ability to socially distance at all times.
5. Adherence to Time allotted in Permits
It is a requirement to arrive and leave the Two Holy Mosques as per the time allotted in the permits issued, the Two Holy Mosques close one hour after Isha prayers and reopen one hour before Fajr Prayers for visitors
6. Mataaf is restricted to Umrah Pilgrims only
At this time entry to Mataaf is only allowed for Pilgrims carrying a valid Umrah Permit and for the purpose of Tawaaf only.
7. Restriction to touch the Ka’bah, Black Stone and Prayers in Hateem
At this time, there is a restriction in place to touch the Ka’bah, Black Stone and Prayers in the Hateem as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Hajj & Umrah stated that all those coming from outside of Saudi Arabia are required to submit an approved negative PCR test or negative antigen test 48 hours before their departure, regardless of their immunisation status.
The updated procedures will come into effect starting at 1 am on Wednesday 9th February 2022
Citizens who test positive but have received their full amount of vaccine doses approved by the Kingdom are allowed to enter after 7 days from the date of their positive test without the need for a re-examination
February 08, 2022
JEDDAH: The General Authority for Civil Aviation has updated travel procedures and COVID-19 testing for those departing and entering Saudi Arabia, introducing rapid antigen tests for travelers upon arrival in the Kingdom.
Citizens and foreign nationals must hold a negative certificate regardless of vaccine status for an approved PCR or rapid antigen test, with the sample being taken within 48 hours of their departure date to the Kingdom.
Children under 8 years of age are exempt from the test, although regulations for countries of origin related to COVID-19 testing procedures for children must be taken into account.
The measures will go into effect at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, and will include that citizens must receive a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine before departing the Kingdom. The third dose can be taken three months after the second dose. Those under 16 years of age are exempt, as well as those who hold “exempt” status on Tawakkalna.
Citizens who test positive but have received their full amount of vaccine doses approved by the Kingdom are allowed to enter after 7 days from the date of their positive test without the need for a re-examination.
Those who do not complete the full approved course of vaccine doses can re-enter the Kingdom after 10 days from the date of testing positive.
Arab News spoke to infectious disease consultant and head of the internal medicine department at King Fahad Hospital in Jeddah, Dr. Wail Bajhmom, who explained that an antigen test is a commercial test for rapidly diagnosing the presence of particles of coronavirus.
“In another words, it’s a test looking for the presence of any particle of coronavirus within the sample used from a subject, it is commercially used as rapid antigen test and it follows a simple fact; that in case of the presence of COVID-19, a reaction between the virus (antigen) and compound in the kit will take place and show the positive result,” he said.
“The test of course will show negative results if there is no reaction which means there is no virus. This method, called the rapid antigen test, is a well known method for viral and other infections detection in a fast way,” he added.
The differences between rapid antigen test and the polymerase chain reaction test is the time of results.
“When using the RAT the result will be achieved within a very short period as short as 15 minutes and it is cheaper with high sensitivity which means there is a high chance for this test to catch a positive patient,” he said.
“Moreover, RAT is a very simple test where it can be done at home with no need to take the sample to the laboratory.”
He highlighted that the PCR is a more detailed and specific test, and it can detect the presence of coronavirus within the sample even in minimal amount.
“In addition, the test should take place in specialized laboratories and it should be run by specialized, well trained medical personnel. It is still the gold standard method for diagnosing COVID-19. In fact, it is more expensive than rapid antigen test and takes a longer time to reveal the result,” he said.
“In short, a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 infection is one of the most useful and less expensive tests to give a quick and sensitive result, and it is a really good practice to use it for screening travelers, but the PCR is still the recommended confirmatory diagnostic test,” he added.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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