Muslims making a pilgrimage to the Grand Mosque at Mecca must be vaccinated against Covid, Saudi officials have insisted today.
Strict social distancing measures and disinfection routines will also be implemented inside the world famous holy site, in western Saudi Arabia, where millions of Muslims visit each year for the umrah and hajj pilgrimages.
The rules, announced today at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, currently apply to the umrah pilgrimage – a non-compulsory pilgrimage which takes place year-round.
It is not clear if the hajj, a pilgrimage every Muslim must take at least once in their lifetime, and that can only be performed at a specific time of year, will also be impacted by the new restrictions.
The hajj and umrah ministry, the body responsible for managing the two pilgrimages, said in a statement that three categories of people would be considered ‘immunised’.
These include who have received two doses of the vaccine, those administered a single dose at least 14 days prior, and people who have recovered from the infection.