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No More Social Distancing Required During Umrah in Saudi Arabia

02 February 2024

We all know that since 2019 COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of destruction. This one-of-a-kind virus proved to be extremely disastrous and dreadful for the whole world. It almost hits every single country and the world finds it difficult to cope with this virus. In its initial days, it was not curable and all you have to do is take preventive measures. That’s why researchers and WHO strongly recommended countries to opt for social distancing as well as other preventions. With every single passing day, the things were getting more than worse. Therefore, countries prefer to opt for all those solutions that can lessen the spread of this viral disease.

Saudi Arabia began implementing a number of precautionary steps, beginning with the implementation of travel bans to and from China. Because of the accelerated diffusion of COVID-19, and with the first reported case in Saudi Arabia more stringent initiatives were implemented. These measures include global travel restrictions and the suspension or revocation of main festivals, social events, mosque prayers, and sports contests, and many more. These non-pharmaceutical measures seek to minimize the scope of the outbreak as a result of the effects of international flights and large gatherings on the spike in the number of reported cases both nationally and worldwide. Because this is the first occurrence of its sort in modern history, the effect of halting large meetings on the outbreak is unclear and impossible to quantify.

Saudi Arabia Cancels Social Distancing and Allows Pilgrims to Perform Openly

Undoubtedly, it's big news for every Muslim out there. But still, people have to follow some rules and regulations in order to pray freely in the Holy Kaaba. Although social segregation restrictions have been eased, Saudi officials have mandated that pilgrims get inoculated and use surgical masks. Believers undertook the Umrah pilgrimage without any social distancing for the very first time since the onset of the coronavirus scourge on Sunday 2021. Saudi Arabia approved the relaxation of a number of COVID-19 requirements. Social distancing limitations were also lifted in Mecca for those intending to do the minor "Umrah" pilgrimage. Umrah can be executed throughout the year and millions of people were performing it before the catastrophe.

On the other hand, those intending to visit the Greatest Holy Mosque to make the pilgrimage should don a face mask. They should have received two dosages of one of the permitted vaccinations in Saudi Arabia and received authorization via a governmental app prior to actually traveling. Social distance laws have indeed been lifted in open spaces, public transportation, eateries, and movie theatres. As per the Saudi Ministry of Interior, two doses of vaccination will still be necessary to access specific areas or join specific programs and festivals.

Immunization Is Must to Enter Saudi Arabia

Muslims who wish to undertake Umrah from now on must be fully vaccinated. Furthermore, the vaccinations should be those that are approved by the officials of Saudi Arabia. The holy cities of Mecca and Medina will start accommodating Muslims internationally to their mosques. With a capability that will increase to 2 million pilgrims every month from 60,000 pilgrims monthly, whilst continuing Covid-19 preventative measures. National and international pilgrims will be required to present certified Covid-19 immunization credentials alongside their Umrah application, according to a Hajj and Umrah Ministry spokesperson. Inoculated pilgrims from nations on Saudi Arabia's list of prohibited countries will be institutionally isolated upon entrance.

As per the country's e-visa portal, the Government has also chosen to permit entrance to international visitors who have been completely inoculated with either Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccinations, providing they also obtain a booster shot of one of the four vaccines permitted by the Kingdom. Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are the four authorized vaccinations.

Advantages of Performing Umrah Without Social Distancing

Umrah is such a greater pilgrimage and Muslims love to perform it. But the last two years have been immensely destructive that nobody imagines that the circumstances will get this bad. But now after two years, the situation is getting under control due to the invention of various vaccines. Along with proper measures taken for social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing yourself. Here are some of the advantages of performing Umrah without any restrictions:

Unlimited Blessings of Allah (SWT)

Muslims feel really blessed to gather once again fully without any limitations and pray together to receive infinite blessings from Allah Almighty. Allah (SWT) is Ar-Raheem and Ar-Rahman, He always taught us that there is ease after every difficulty. Muslims all around the world believe that this is the reward of their patience.

No More Quarantine

Muslims who are completely vaccinated are not required to get quarantined before entering the Holy Land. Getting quarantined and not able to go anywhere for 14 days was such a big issue. And literally, nobody likes it but that was the need of the hour. Now the situation is getting towards normal people are not necessitated to get themselves quarantined. But the countries banned by the officials of Saudi Arabia are still required to be quarantined before entering the Holy cities of Mecca and Madinah.

No Social Distancing Restrictions

It means that Muslims are able to execute Umrah freely without keeping a 6 feet distance from others. You can pray anywhere at any time without being on a specific mark put by the authorities. Still, you have to wear masks and sanitize yourself after some time. Additionally, the officials are also sanitizing floors and spraying sanitizers from time to time to avoid any chance of people getting infected. Uplifting of social distancing limitations does not mean that you are free to remove masks. Always keep your masks on your face at crowded places and don’t forget to disinfect yourself fully.

Ease of Visiting Ziayarats

Ziayarats have always been a great part of Umrah journey. People who come to perform Umrah always visit Ziayarats in both Mecca and Medina. Now people are free to visit these historical Islamic landmarks again without any restriction. They can easily pray Nawafil there at any time without hesitation. By visiting these sites Muslims can refresh their Imaan and a sense of belonging to Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) and other leaders of Islam.

Pilgrims Can Easily Drink ZamZam

ZamZam is blessed water and a perfect source of being healthy and active. During the pandemic, people weren’t allowed to drink ZamZam freely. Now as time has changed, Muslims can fill their bottles by themselves without any sort of restriction. They can also bring water to their loved ones as a gift from the Holy City.

In A Nutshell,

Muslims really celebrated this big news that there will be no restriction on the number of pilgrims performing Umrah. Everybody can come and perform this minor pilgrimage by following some rules and regulations. Saudi Arabia is a strict state in all of its matters but this is really a point when the whole world shook. Getting out of this pandemic seemed impossible but Allah (SWT) has showered his unlimited blessings on us. Therefore, the time has come when Muslims are continuing to gather in the House of Allah (SWT) to worship together. People were tired of the pandemic and its restrictions and being unable to execute Umrah or Hajj. As of now, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has removed all the bans and restrictions in terms of social distancing and lesser number of people.  People can easily come to perform Umrah without any sort of hesitation.

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