News Impact of Covid-19 Travelling to Makkah Madina Performing Umrah And Haj

News Impact of Covid-19 Travelling to Makkah Madina Performing Umrah And Haj Present Year 2021 & Upcoming 2022.

This Year Performing Hajj and Umrah 2021 were different from pilgrimages in the last years. Accordance with latest COVID-19 Rules & regulations issued by Hajj and Umrah Ministry, This year Haj Performed only by 60,000 pilgrims were allowed to complete Hajj 2021. Let’s take a look impact of COVID-19 on Umrah, How Pandemic affected & changed these Spiritual Journeys for pilgrimages & how Saudi Arabia Makkah is ready to welcome more pilgrims from around the world in the coming years.

Pilgrims visit Makkah to perform pilgrimage any time during the year Which starts and End Between Muharram Till Ramzan (Ramadan), which is called ‘Umrah.’ Whereas The ‘Hajj’ takes place in the Islamic month of Zill Haj on fixed dates according to the Islamic calendar once a year. Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, Umrah pilgrimage was performed by almost 19 million pilgrims annually. For ‘Hajj’, around 2.5 million Muslims used to visit Makkah. But in 2021,were only 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi Expatriates & Citizens were permitted and allowed to perform the Hajj 2021 due to adverse effect of the pandemic. According to sources, only 1000 people performed the holy Hajj in 2020. The Haj pilgrimage was opened only for the Citizens of Saudi Arabia.

In View & Considering the spreading of the COVID-19 outbreak, Spiritual Journey for both the Pilgrimage ‘Umrah’ and ‘Hajj’ seemed impossible, however, Saudi Arabia handled the pandemic as well as pilgrimage amidst the pandemic quite efficiently. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had less mortality rates as compared to many other nations & also managed minimal social disruption. Best management by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah made it possible for Muslims to undertake pilgrimage and took maximum precaution to ensure, safety of the pilgrims.

Umrah Impact COVID-19 : How the Covid pandemic affected the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia ?

Believed of Hajj is as a way to wash all your sins and get the mercy of Almighty Allah. also it is believed to unite the Muslims community. During Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are supposed to recite and perform prayers together, sit and eat together, and celebrate it with unity. Instead, this pandemic led to social distancing, which could not make it possible for people to come together for the purpose of Spiritual pilgrimage. This Covid pandemic led to the bifurcation of people into queues to avoid, overcrowding that existed before the pandemic. Total number of Pilgrims allowed at one time in the mosque was reduced to a very few ensuring that the social distancing is Mandatory & being followed. Additionally, face masks became mandatory for visitors, and the people not wearing them had to bear the penalties. Police officers were on duty to note this and ensure that the guidelines were being followed.

Iftar meal (served when breaking the daylong fast) was also served in nicely sealed packages unlike previous years when pilgrims sat in lines to enjoy iftar together. food was prepared with extreme hygiene and wellness. Moreover, Zamzam water, considered holy water, was earlier collected from various watering points and made available in water bottles, while following social distancing as government norms.

Suggested Read: The Grand Mosque To Drop Social Distancing For Spiritual Pilgrims

Primarily, Authorities used to ask the foreign pilgrims for a negative RT-PCR test report which should be taken within 48 hours before arriving in Saudi Arabia. In addition, they are also supposed to be quarantined at a government-approved hotel for 6 days or can again take a RT-PCR test after 2 days of quarantine, and if the report is negative, they can leave the hotel.

The pilgrims who want to get entry in Haram, the Grand Mosque of Makkah, have to bring their vaccination certificates and show them in advance.

A University lecturer in Saudi Arabia, Egyptian pilgrim Aly Aboulnaga said, “I hope this is a successful hajj season. We ask God to accept everyone’s hajj and for the area to be open to greater numbers of pilgrims and for a return to an even better situation than before.”

With advent of technology, mobile apps are also helping in tracking updates of COVID-19 personal stats. Many apps can be used to keep your vaccination certificate, to track and warn if anyone affected with coronavirus is near you. If you want to gather for a social event, an app will give permit for the gathering. The app will also trace the positive people nearby if present at the party.

Eatmarna: This app helps pilgrims to confirm a time slot for granting access to the Grand Mosque. This app was created by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to ensure public safety and to avoid overcrowding. This mobile app specially designed for people who want to enter Haram.

Though it still can’t be predicted when the pandemic will end, and Resumption of Hajj & Umrah will take place on out its normal norms (Easy Travelling) COVID-19 impact on Umrah and Hajj will be completely relaxed in upcoming months, and Makkah will start hosting pilgrims from different areas of the world. As per the reports, the new variants of COVID-19 are also approaching. Hence, following the guidelines and restrictions are important and mandatory for the betterment of the visitors.

And also Haj & Umrah Visas will be provided Digitally E Visa (Hajj & Umrah Pilgrimage will easily Allowed to book and buy Packages online.

Emirates Airlines Update travel guidlies for Us Travellers from India

Emirates Latest Travel update: 04 November 2021, 14:09 (GMT +4)

Travelling to USA (travel to all cities in United States of America)
Overview of the general regulations for entry into US during the COVID period, please refer guidelines to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Travel to Usa up to 00:01 EST on 8 November (local flight departure time from origin)

Passengers who have been physically present in the following Countries i.e.. Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, India, Iran, China, Brazil or South Africa 14 days preceding their trip are not permitted to travel to the USA. Exemptions are granted to US citizens, lawful US permanent residents and non‑US citizens who are the spouse of a US Citizen or lawful permanent resident. Further exemptions may apply.

Note: Customers travelling to New York (JFK) via Milan (MXP) on EK205 or EK209 via Athens (ATH) must be eligible to meet the entry requirements on arrival in the USA. Only US nationals, residents and spouses of US nationals/residents will be allowed to transit through Milan or Athens. Customers who do not meet this requirement but who are eligible for travel to the USA must take a direct flight.

Please refer to the US visa news website for updates on entry regulations.

COVID‑19 testing and attestation requirements

Effective 26 January 2021, all passengers 2 years of age and older are required to get a COVID‑19 viral test (nucleic acid amplification / PCR test or a viral antigen test) within 3 days of travel to the US. Passengers must provide written documentation of their negative test result (paper or electronic copy) at check‑in. Test results must show the name, specimen collection date and type of test done. Test results where the testing date is more than 3 days before departure will not be accepted.

Alternatively, passengers may provide official written documentation of a positive COVID‑19 test result within the last 3 months alongside a letter from their healthcare provider or a public health official that they have recovered and are cleared for travel. Together these are referred to as ‘documentation of recovery’.

All passengers age 2 and above travelling to the USA will be required to sign an attestation prior to departure (parent or other authorized individual may attest on behalf of passengers aged 2 to 17) confirming they meet the requirements and thus cleared to travel. Please ensure you download, print, complete and sign the attestation form before reporting to check in at the airport. Passengers who do not complete the attestation form will not be permitted to travel.

Travel from 00:01 EST on 8 November (local flight departure time from origin)

Please visit the CDC website for more brief information regarding COVID‑19 testing, vaccination and attestation requirements.

Starting From 8th November 2021 only US citizens, US nationals, US Lawful Permanent Residents, and Immigrants will be permitted travel if unvaccinated. A limited number of exceptions where a non‑US citizen who is not fully vaccinated can travel to the US can be found here.

Guidelines for non‑U.S. citizen who is a nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or travelling to the United States on an immigrant visa), you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID‑19 before you travel by air to the United States from a foreign country. Some categories of noncitizen, nonimmigrants are excepted from this requirement. At this time, all air passengers ages 2 or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status (including US citizens, US nationals and lawful permanent residents or immigrants), must show a negative result of a COVID‑19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID‑19 before they board a flight to the United States. For more information about these testing requirements, visit Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID‑19 Test or Documentation of Recovery from COVID‑19.

Passengers must meet the requirements as stated below:

1) non‑US citizens who are nonimmigrant passengers must present digital or paper documentation of “Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID‑19” to the carrier prior to boarding unless excepted.

Excepted includes:
Diplomatic, government travel, UN travel
Children under 18
People in clinical trials
People with medical contraindications
Humanitarian and emergency exceptions granted by CDC
Limited vaccine availability (from countries with less than 10% of total population vaccinated
US armed forces
Sea crew members
Persons with National Interest Exception
Every Excepted Individual without proof of vaccination must attest to:
They are excepted
They have arranged for a test within 3 days of arrival unless they have proof of recovering from COVID in last 90 days
They have arranged to self‑quarantine unless they can show they have recovered from COVID in last 90 days
They have arranged to self‑isolate if the test is positive
2) All passengers (including US Citizens, US Nationals, Lawful Permanent Residents and Immigrants) aged 2 and above must present a paper or digital documentation of a negative PCR test
If fully vaccinated, the test must take place within 3 days of departure
If not fully vaccinated (and allowed to travel under an exception), the test must take place within one day of travel
OR a passenger can present a documentation of recovery in the form of both:
A positive test no more than 90 days before a flight and
A letter from a licensed health professional stating that the passenger has been cleared to travel
Children 2 years old and above are also required to have a negative PCR test – if travelling with a fully vaccinated adult the test must take place within 3 days of departure, if travelling alone or with an unvaccinated adult, the test must take place within one day of travel

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its travel guidance for fully vaccinated people. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine.

Fully vaccinated passengers must still have a negative COVID‑19 test result before they board a flight to the United States
Fully vaccinated passengers do not need to self quarantine after returning to the United States, unless required by a state or local jurisdiction
Fully vaccinated passengers should continue to take COVID‑19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently.
All passengers are recommended to get a COVID‑19 test 3 to 5 days after they return from international travel Unvaccinated passengers are recommended to stay home and self quarantine for a full 7 days after arrival. If passengers do not take a COVID‑19 test after international travel, they are recommended to stay home and self quarantine for 10 days.
3) passengers 2 years old and above travelling to the USA must sign an attestation prior to departure (parent or other authorised individual may attest on behalf of passengers aged 2 to 17) confirming they meet the requirements and are cleared to travel. Please ensure you download, print, complete and sign the attestation form before reporting to check‑in at the airport. Passengers who do not complete the attestation form will not be permitted to travel.

US restrictions for passengers travelling through or from Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo

Passengers who have been in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Guinea within the last 21 days will be permitted entry into the USA only through New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and Washington (IAD).

Travel from USA
Passengers must be at the airport 4 hours before the flight to complete all airport formalities and associated travel requirement checks. Please make sure you have all the correct documents required for your trip ready to present to the airport staff.

E-Visa will resume For Hajj And Umrah Pilgrimage Saudi Arabia Announces

Saudi Arabia : Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia On 3rd Oct 2021,Release Updated, granted permission for performing Hajj 2022 & Umrah resume to fully vaccinated pilgrims. With the launch of the Tawakkalna application, The ministry and authorities can track the vaccination status of any individual. Advancement in technology for tracking and curbing COVID-19 has proved beneficial in conducting and operating safe Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. Advancement is the application for registration of e-visa for Hajj & Umrah.
Performing Umrah And Hajj Starting 2021.During COVID-19.
COVID-19 infections were spreading all over the world, Saudi authorities are putting strict restrictions on Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia Allowed only 60,000 people to perform Hajj In July 2021, in comparison, an average of 2 million Hajj pilgrims every year. Allowed pilgrims were fully inoculated with doses of Oxford’s AstraZeneca, and Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
As per the latest updated records, currently, KSA reports– 545k total cases & 8.78k deaths due to COVID-19. Covid cases have seen a significant decline in the past few weeks.
Some experts assume that it will contain guidelines that have to be followed while performing Umrah and Hajj. Pilgrims will have to submit necessary documents along with a certificate for vaccination. The authorities will verify details & automatically grant e-visas according to the authenticity of the details.

Makkah Masjid Al-Haram Allowing entry of Pilgrims At Full Capacity Starting from October 2021.
Big news came from Makkah Masjid Al-Haram on 17th Oct 2021. The authorities at Grand Mosque are lifting off restrictions on the numbers of pilgrims to perform Hajj and Umrah. They took this decision considering the decline in COVID-19 cases and increasing inquiries for pilgrimage. Local media are publishing pictures and footage of people praying alongside maintaining minimal social distance. Though social distancing has been relaxed in Al-Haram, pilgrims will still have to wear masks at all times.
Saudi Arabia has also lifted bans from many countries, including India, for the pilgrimage. These countries fell under red names due to COVID-19’s severity. As the world has considerably recovered from the havoc caused by COVID-19’s new strains, Saudi Arabia is steadily opening doors for these countries.