After a seven months closure due to Coronavirus pandemic, Islam’s holiest site Mecca has been re-opened and restarted the prayers.
The restart of prayers has been announced by the Saudi Arabia government officially on Sunday. Also, it announced that the umrah pilgrimage has been expanded which is estimated to facilitate 15,000 worshippers. The Grand Mosque was seen with devotees wearing masks in an amid tightly packed security authorities.
Residents of Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom were allowed to pray inside Islam’s Holiest Site Mecca by providing extensive health precautions.
The official Saudi Press Agency reported
Citizens and residents have performed Salat Al-Fajr (dawn prayers) at the Grand Mosque today as (authorities) start implementing the second phase of the gradual resumption of umrah,
The allowing of pilgrims in a phased manner was started to facilitate the worshippers. The second phase started from Sunday which will facilitate around 40,000 pilgrims per day to offer their prayers inside the mosque. In the first stage, it was only 15,000 pilgrims per day.
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From November 1, 2020, the thirst stage will begin which will enable abroad pilgrims to visit Islam’s Holiest Site Mecca. Then the total number might be increased by 20,000 more to the existing numbers. That means a total of 60,000 pilgrims will be allowed to offer prayers. Apart from the local residents of 10,000, abroad visitors 60,000 will be allowed to perform the rituals.
A raft of precautionary measures has been taken to avoid overcrowding according to Saudi Arabia’s state media. The Grand Mosque has been sterilized completely so the chances of spread of Coronavirus is the minimum. Thermal sensors are installed so that the temperatures can be checked before entering into the Mosque. Above all of these, the revered Black Stone in Kaaba is kept out of reach for the pilgrims to touch.
Saudi Arabia which has recorded 5,185 Covid-19 deaths and more than 3,42,000 Covid-19 infected cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The Umrah usually attracts millions of Muslims from across the globe each year. Saudi Arabia hosts the annual Hajj pilgrimage in late July every year.