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Saudi Arabia Mulls to Partially Resume Umrah

Saudi Arabia’s Agency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque in Mecca is currently developing a crowd control plan as it prepares for the partial opening of the mosque and the holy Kaaba soon, local media reported.

The plan is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

The Grand Mosque and its courtyards will operate at 40 percent capacity, local media cited well-informed sources as saying.

Visitors may be asked to obtain a permit before arriving at the Grand Mosque through the Tawakkalna app so authorities can limit the number of people entering the mosque, according to the sources.

Thermal cameras will be set up at all entrances of the mosque and separate entry and exit points will be designated for visitors.

Any individual who records a high temperature will be prevented from entering the mosque and will be referred to specialists from the health ministry.

Social distancing measures will be enforced at all times to prevent crowding, while face masks will be mandatory for all visitors.

The ground, first, and second floor of the holy mosque will be allocated for those performing tawaf. Elderly people and people with special needs shall be allowed to use the second floor.

Tawaf is the ritual of circumambulating the Kaaba seven times as part of Umrah or Hajj in Mecca.

The central Haram area, closest to the Kaaba, may be closed for visitors, especially on Friday to limit crowding, the sources said.

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