RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has barred 30 countries including Pakistan, India and Indonesia from sending Umrah pilgrims because of “the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus disease”.
Al-Arabiya reported this citing sources in the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Umrah Season 1443 officially began on August 10. Vaccination has been made mandatory for the intending pilgrims: two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna, or one shot of Janssen. Sinopharm or Sinovac are accepted if travelers have received an additional dose of one of the four aforementioned vaccines.
The Saudi Arabian authorities have increased the capacity of Umrah pilgrims to two millions a month.
On July 26, Saudi Arabia had announced eligibility and requirements for the intending Umrah pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom.
The authorities through a statement had announced the resumption of Umrah for international pilgrims from Muharram 1, 1443.
On July 31, Shaykh al-Hadith and Darul Uloom Karachi Vice President Mufti Muhammed Taqi Usmani had expressed concern over Saudi Arabia’s changing attitude.
In a statement, the Islamic scholar of international fame had said that the government of Saudi Arabia was going astray from the path of founder of the kingdom, Malik Abdul Aziz. He had also expressed reservation over restrictions on Hajj and Umrah.