JEDDAH: Children from the age of seven will be able to enter the Two Holy Mosques as long as they are fully vaccinated, after nearly 30 months of access restrictions on youngsters because of COVID-19 concerns.
The Hajj and Umrah Ministry tweeted that entry permits for children to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah were available on the condition of the child being fully jabbed against COVID-19.
Saudi health authorities have already started administering the vaccine to children aged between five and 11.
In its daily report on the electronic permits issued for Umrah, prayers, and visits, the ministry said it had issued more than 29.4 million permits to enter the Grand Mosque over the last seven months. More than 3.7 million permits were granted to worshippers for access to the Prophet’s Mosque during the same period.
On Thursday, over 305,900 Grand Mosque entry permits were issued and more than 27,300 permits were issued for visiting the Prophet’s Mosque.
The ministry said the daily number of worshippers entering the Grand Mosque for prayers only was 82,571, while the daily average number of people performing Umrah was estimated to be 64,300.
Its figures showed that the Grand Mosque was witnessing high density during Asr, Maghrib and Isha compared to Fajr and Dhuhr prayers earlier in the day.
Most Umrah pilgrims appeared to prefer performing their rituals after dark. Those performing Umrah are given a three-hour permit to complete their pilgrimage, but nearly all of them are doing it in a maximum of two hours.
On Thursday, 11,060 permits were issued to people who had applied for permits to pray at Al-Rawdhah Al-Sharifah at the Prophet’s Mosque.
Also on Thursday, 16,249 permits were issued for those wanting to visit the Prophet’s tomb.