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JUST IN: Saudi lifts ban on Nigerians, others ahead next lesser Hajj session

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Barely two months after placing ban on Nigeria and other countries from attending the 2021 Hajj, the Saudi Arabian Government has lifted the restrictions and that intending pilgrims for the lesser Hajj should start presenting their request ahead of the session.

The government added that issuance of permits to all intending pilgrims would be through the mobile applications the “Eatmarna” and “Tawakkalna”, launched to prevent spread Coronavirus across the country.

The Tawakkalna, a COVID-19 applications designed by the government for Contact tracing while Eatmarna app was launched to allow pilgrims apply for visit permits to the Two Holy Mosques during the religious rites in the country.

According to the government, Umrah requests from Nigeria and other countries would be entertained beginning from Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, for pilgrims to perform the Islamic rituals in the holy mosques.

Through a statement released by the deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, hinted that government aimed to reach 60,000 pilgrims distributed over eight operational periods, in order to bring the capacity to two million pilgrims monthly.

Mashat explained that the ministry worked in coordination with other authorities before the upcoming Umrah season to create a safe and secure environment for the pilgrims throughout their journey.

The minister stated that for locals and residents, vaccination for COVID-19 was a prerequisite to perform Umrah and visiting as well as praying in the two holy mosques during the religious rites

He said: “Pilgrims coming from outside the kingdom must present an official certificate of vaccination from their countries, in addition to the vaccine being from the list of approved vaccines by Saudi Arabia. Arrivals must also adhere to institutional quarantine procedures”.

The deputy minister stated that the number of passengers on a transportation shuttle will not exceed 50 percent of its capacity, while maintaining a safe distance inside, and making sure of the permits of pilgrims issued through the applications before being allowed to board

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