RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced a phase-wise restoration of Umrah services in the country keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Arab media reports quoted Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Muhammad Saleh Benten during Umrah Forum as saying that Umrah pilgrims would be allowed in the country in a phase-wise manner keeping in view the existing health issues.
He said that the latest technology would be utilized for managing the affairs and companies offering the pilgrimage package would introduce it using modern technology. Around 30 Saudi and international companies will initially be allowed to offer these services.
The ministry would launch an app and those who decide to visit the Holy sites during the pilgrimage would choose their dates of visit using the application. The companies would offer their online services and would remain in touch with the visiting pilgrims.
A new smart card will be issued for these companies during their transitional period and this card will be used first to serve visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque from within the Kingdom and abroad.
He said that the merger of Umrah companies and the establishment will make them strong entities that are capable of providing high-quality services for some 16 million domestic and foreign Umrah pilgrims annually.
The minister said that Saudi Arabia was committed to serve the Umrah pilgrims to the best of its abilities and plans to host 30 million pilgrims by 2030.