Saudi Arabia says no Umrah permits for people above 70

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The kingdom hosted the annual hajj pilgrimage in late July, on the smallest scale in modern history.

Tuesday 23/03/2021

A mask-clad Pakistani traveller arriving to Saudi Arabia to perform the year-round Umrah pilgrimage, is welcomed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah. (AFP)

RIYADH--The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Monday that people above the age of 70 will not be allowed to perform Umrah even if they get inoculated against the coronavirus.

By issuing the statement, the ministry answered key questions about the new procedures to issue the required Umrah permits.

With regard to the authorised ages to perform Umrah from inside the Kingdom and the issuance of permits via the app I’tamarna, the Ministry said that hat permits will not be issued for those under the age of 18 years and over the age of 70, based on the instructions of the Saudi Health Ministry.

The ministry also noted that children cannot be added as companions but mothers are still allowed to apply as companion pilgrims.

Earlier in March, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud replaced the hajj minister, months after the kingdom hosted the smallest pilgrimage in modern history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mohammad Benten was relieved from his post as minister of hajj and umrah, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said, citing a royal decree.

He was replaced by Essam bin Saeed, who retains his post as minister of state.

The kingdom hosted the annual hajj pilgrimage in late July, on the smallest scale in modern history.

Only up to 10,000 Muslim residents of Saudi Arabia itself were allowed to take part, a far cry from the 2.5 million Muslims from around the world who participated in 2019.

It remains now unclear how many pilgrims will be allowed for this year’s hajj, as the global pandemic continues.

In a relaxation of coronavirus curbs in October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the first time in seven months and partially resumed the year-long umrah pilgrimage.

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