Saudi Arabia 'closes gaps' between worshippers in Makkah, Madina

The kingdom has eased Covid restrictions
Oct 18, 2021

The Saudi government has removed social distancing restrictions in the holy mosques of Makkah and Madina.

After one and a half years of precautionary measures due to COVID-19, the Imams of Masjid Al Haram and Masjid An Nabawi instructed worshipers to "straighten [the] rows and close the gaps," Haramain Sharifain tweeted.

Major restrictions and precautionary measures have been abolished, as the grand mosques return to full capacity.

The first Fajr prayers without social distancing were offered Sunday morning.

Pictures and footage Sunday morning showed people praying side by side, making straight rows of worshippers that are formations revered in performing Muslim prayers, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last year.

The authorities said visitors must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus and must continue to wear masks on mosque grounds while social distancing measures were lifted.

Earlier in August, Saudi Arabia announced that it will begin accepting vaccinated foreigners wanting to make the Umrah pilgrimage.

The Umrah can be undertaken at any time and usually draws millions from around the globe, as does the annual Hajj, which able-bodied Muslims who have the means must perform at least once in their lifetime.

In July, only around 60,000 inoculated residents were allowed to take part in a vastly scaled-down form of the annual Hajj.



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