With the use of protective masks against the covid-19, Saudi citizens and foreign residents of Saudi Arabia are able to pray again inside the Great Mosque of Mecca.
“Citizens and residents held Salat Al-Fajr (early morning prayer) at the Grand Mosque on this day, while (the authorities) begin to implement the second phase of the gradual resumption of ‘Umrah’,” or small pilgrimage, the official news agency said. Saudi SPA.
In early October, Saudi Arabia allowed up to 6,000 foreign citizens and residents a day to make the small Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, ‘Umrah’, following the suspension in March due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The small pilgrimage can be made throughout the year, unlike ‘Hajj’, the large pilgrimage which is limited in time and which attracts millions of pilgrims annually from all over the world.
As of today, the number of faithful authorized to make the small pilgrimage has increased to 15,000 per day and up to 40,000 people – pilgrims and other believers – are allowed to pray at the Great Mosque in Mecca.
The faithful from abroad are allowed to visit Mecca from November 1st, when the number of pilgrims to ‘Umrah’ will increase to 20,000 people and, in total, up to 60,000 pilgrims will be allowed to enter the place, from according to the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry.
To date, the country has recorded more than 342,000 cases of infection and 5,185 deaths associated with covid-19.
As part of the measures taken in relation to places of worship and prayer, the black stone set in one of the corners of the Kaaba (which is common, but not obligatory to touch during the pilgrimage) will be out of reach and the Grand Mosque must be disinfected beforehand and after the entrance of each group of faithful.
In addition, the authorities in Mecca have announced the installation of thermal sensors to measure the temperature of pilgrims.