Saudi Arabia has facilitated special arrangements under which Maldivians can visit Mecca for the Umrah pilgrimage.
Maldives Foreign Ministry on Sunday said discussions took place between the governments of both countries to come to an arrangement that would allow for Maldivians to perform Umrah despite the international travel challenges faced due to COVID-19. In this regard, a set of guidelines has been issued by the Ministry that would allow for Maldivians to travel to Saudi Arabia for the purpose.
According to the guidelines, reservations have to be made in advance to visit either Masjid al Haram in Mecca or Masjid-al-Nabawi in Medina. A COVID-19 negative test certificate issued from approved laboratories within 72 hours prior to traveling must also be in possession of the travelers. Additionally, an airline reservation that matches the travel itenary program provided for Umra performers should be made, and a three day quarantine must be completed at the pre-booked hotel after entering Saudi Arabia.
According to the regulations of Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry, only those aged between 18 and 50 will be allowed to perform Umra at this time. All travelers must pay special attention to adhere to the established guidelines during their stay in Saudi Arabia.
A Maldivian group last traveled to Saudi Arabia for Umrah purposes during February 2020. A lockdown was imposed in Saudi Arabia while the group was still in the Holy Land.