Saudi govt likely to make covid vaccination mandatory for Hajj permit this year

News Network
March 20, 2021

Jeddah, Mar 20: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health is working on raising the percentage of COVID-19 vaccine recipients in the cities of Makkah and Madinah to at least 60 percent before Dhul Hijjah 1, 1442H (July 13), Okaz has learned from well-informed sources.

In coordination with the National Transformation Program (NTP), the ministry has set out a health plan for Hajj this year. According to the plan, all those assigned to work in Hajj this year must receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine approved in the Kingdom. It also stipulates that the domestic pilgrims must obtain two doses of an approved vaccine inside the Kingdom before Dhul Hijjah 1, the sources revealed.

The sources indicated that the ministry is intending to make it mandatory for all pilgrims coming from abroad to obtain two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the second dose of the vaccine should be taken one week before arrival in Saudi Arabia. There is also a need for the pilgrim to obtain an approved and negative COVID-19 laboratory test, 72 hours before arrival in the Kingdom.

The ministry will oblige all pilgrims to submit to a 72-hour quarantine during which they must repeat the laboratory test for coronavirus from an approved authority.

In its health controls plan for the 1442H Hajj, the ministry mentioned the need for all pilgrims and workers to adhere to wearing masks. They should also comply with the mandatory social distancing in their residences. When moving, they should maintain a mandatory distancing of at least 1.5 m between one person and the other.

The ministry is set to exclude the most vulnerable groups from being nominated to perform Hajj and to limit the age groups to between the ages of 18 and 60 only.

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Agencies
April 13,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 13: Amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Tuesday said that there is no question of imposing lockdown right now while urging the people to adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour.

The chief minister also called an all-party meeting on April 18 to discuss the COVID situation in the state.

"I have called an all-party meeting on April 18 regarding the COVID situation here. There is no question of lockdown right now. The technical advisory committee has suggested that positive cases will increase here till May 2. Hence, people must abide by COVID appropriate behaviour," said Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa

Meanwhile, the Karnataka government has imposed 'corona curfew' (night curfew) between 10 pm to 5 am in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, Bidar, Tumkuru, Udupi and Manipal till April 20 in view of the surge in coronavirus cases.

The Karnataka Chief Minister on Monday said if the number of positive cases does not come down soon, a night curfew will be imposed in other districts in the state where it has not yet been imposed.

Karnataka reported 9,579 new COVID-19 cases, 2,767 discharges, and 52 deaths on Monday. With this, the coronavirus tally reached 10,74,869 in the state. Currently, there are 75,985 active cases in the state.

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Agencies
April 4,2021

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Dubai, Apr 4: People flying into the UAE have been advised not to receive luggage from unknown people without knowing the content in the bags as this could land them in trouble.

The UAE’s Federal Customs Authority (FCA) has advised travellers not to exchange luggage with friends under good faith without confirming the content of the goods.

This was announced by the FCA recently in an elaborate advisory and tips for travellers to ensure a safe and risk-free journey.

It urged the UAE-bound passengers to refrain “from receiving luggage or bags from unknown persons in the country of departure without knowing their contents, not to exchange luggage with friends under good faith without verifying their contents.”

Like all countries across the globe, the customs authorities have also banned many items that passengers cannot carry when flying into the UAE. Items that are prohibited to carry can put travellers in jeopardy.

Some of the prohibited and restricted items include narcotics, gambling tools/machines, nylon fishing nets, live animals of pig species, raw ivory, laser pens with the red-light package, fake and counterfeited currency, substances contaminated nuclear rays and dust, publications, pictures, religiously offensive or immoral drawings and stone sculptures, as well as chewing substances, including betel leaves.

While a number of restricted commodities may be allowed following competent authorities’ consent including live animals, plants, fertilisers and pesticides, weapons, ammunition, explosives and fireworks, medicines, drugs and medical equipment and instruments, media publications and products, new vehicle tyres, transmission and wireless devices, alcoholic drinks, cosmetics and personal care products, raw diamonds and cigarettes manufactured and processed from tobacco.

The FCA emphasised that travellers, who are caught smuggling, would be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both penalties could run concurrently.

It also asked travellers to declare cash sums and precious items upon arrival in the UAE.

Passengers who are bringing their medicines into the UAE have been asked to carry a certified prescription for medications, follow the guidelines and instructions issued by airlines and forwarding companies.

Travellers have been urged not to conceal information on prohibited or restricted substances and articles. 

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News Network
April 10,2021

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Madinah, Apr 10: Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that only Covid-vaccinated or immune worshippers were allowed to enter the Prophet’s Mosque in the holy city of Madinah.

According to Arab News, an official from the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the rule came in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to prevent the spread of Covid among worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan - 2021

Officials had earlier announced a slew of Covid safety protocols for the mosque. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the General President for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, Abd Al Rahman Al Sudais, said on Saturday that the Prophet’s Mosque, or Masjid-un-Nabawi, in Madinah would hold a maximum of 60,000 worshippers at once.

As per Saudi authorities, the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque will be closed half an hour after the Taraweeh prayer and will be opened two hours before the dawn prayer.

The mosque will be open around the clock only during the last ten days of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

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