Saudi Arabia’s government has announced a gradual restoration of Umrah pilgrimage keeping in view the ongoing Coronavirus situation.
Accoridng to media reports, Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Muhammad Saleh Benten said that Umrah pilgrimage would be allowed in phases.
He said that the latest technology would be utilized for managing the affairs and companies offering the pilgrimage package would introduce it using modern technology. Around 30 Saudi and international companies will initially be allowed to offer these services.
An app will be launched by the ministry which will be used by the pilgrims to choose their dates of visit. The companies would offer their online services and would remain in touch with the visiting pilgrims.
A new smart card will be issued for these companies during their transitional period.
However, this card will be used first to serve visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque from within the Kingdom and abroad.
He said that the merger of Umrah companies and the establishment will make them strong entities that are capable of providing high-quality services for some 16 million domestic and foreign Umrah pilgrims annually.
The minister further added that Saudi Arabia plans to host 30 million pilgrims by 2030.
Earlier, during the Hajj pilgrimage, the security forces had arrested 244 people, who attempted to infiltrate the Holy Sites to perform Hajj in violation of precautionary measures and preventive protocols against coronavirus.
After gathering facts, disciplinary steps had been taken against them, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
“The security men have created a tight security cordon in and around the holy sites to enforce these regulations and catch the violators.”
Moreover, this year, a downsized Hajj had drastically reduced the number of to 10,000 from last year’s 2.5 million.
Some 70% of the pilgrims were foreigners who resided in the kingdom, while the rest were Saudi citizens.