Second phase of Umrah return set to begin on Sunday

The second phase of Umrah will resume on Sunday with 15,000 pilgrims allowed to perform rituals and 40,000 worshippers offering daily obligatory prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (File/SPA)
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Updated 14 October 2020

Second phase of Umrah return set to begin on Sunday

  • The first stage allowed Umrah for Saudis and expats residing in the Kingdom
  • The decision to allow foreign pilgrims to perform the pilgrimage will be taken after reviewing the pandemic situation

JEDDAH: The second phase of Umrah will resume on Sunday with 15,000 pilgrims allowed to perform rituals and 40,000 worshippers offering daily obligatory prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The operations at the Grand Mosque will be held amid strict social distancing measures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Umrah pilgrimages were suspended on March 1 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic but last month the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah agreed to a phased return of Umrah operations starting on Oct. 4.
The first stage allowed Umrah for Saudis and expats residing in the Kingdom, before expanding to greater capacity and ultimately allowing pilgrims from outside of Saudi Arabia.
However, the decision to allow foreign pilgrims will be taken after reviewing the pandemic situation and the number of cases around the world.
The ministry has launched a smartphone app called Eatmarna to issue Umrah permits to prospective pilgrims. Users must ensure they are registered with the Ministry of Health’s Tawakkalna app to allow authorities to check on their health status and eligibility to perform Umrah rituals.
A new set of permits was added for pilgrims in the app on Tuesday.
“The new permits include one for prayers in the Grand Mosque, one for prayers in the Prophet’s Sacred Chamber in the Prophet’s Mosque, and one for greeting the Prophet,” a ministry official said.


Saudi King praises role of women at W20 summit

Updated 22 October 2020

Saudi King praises role of women at W20 summit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has praised the exceptional role played by women during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a speech delivered at the end of the W20, the G20 women’s engagement group, on Wednesday, King Salman said: “I would like to express my gratitude to the Women 20 Engagement Group for their remarkable efforts and commitment to deliver their agenda during these unprecedented times caused by the COVID -19 pandemic.”
The Saudi king described women as the source of evolution for any society and said that without empowered women it is difficult to reform societies. 
“Women are the main source of development for any society. Hence, without empowered women, it is almost impossible to implement any societal reforms given that women form half of the societies and they are the ones who raise up generations. Women has proven through history their remarkable role in leading change and in decision making.”
The king noted that Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20 has dedicated special attention to discussing policies related to women across different ministerial and working group meetings.