ISLAMABAD — Pakistani pilgrims had not been allowed entry into Saudi Arabia before opening Umrah applications, said Noor ul Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal religious affairs minister.
On a local television show in Pakistan, the minister admitted that Pakistan was still the one from where pilgrims were not allowed unconditionally into Saudi Arabia amongst the nine countries.
Saudi Arabia has conditionally allowed travelers who have completed two doses of the Chinese vaccines, including Sinovac and Sinopharm, to get a booster shot of one of the four approved vaccines, including Oxford/AstraZeneca Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson.
“All visitors arriving in the country with a valid tourism visa must provide evidence of a full course of one the four vaccines currently recognized: two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson,” states the travel guideline of the Saudi government.
“Vaccinated travelers will not have to quarantine, provided they have proof of receiving the full vaccine doses before and after arrival,” states the guidelines of the embassy of Saudi Arabia.
“The vaccine taken by arriving travelers must be one that was approved by the Saudi ministry of health (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson).”
The guidelines that will come into effect from the 1st of Ramadan, only those who have received coronavirus vaccines will be allowed to enter the holy mosques, as it was reported.
It said that only those pilgrims who have been duly inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine would be allowed to visit the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (The Prophet’s Mosque) and Masjid al-Haram (The Great Mosque), said the Kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
The Saudi Arabian e-visa portal issued the guidelines for the travelers after reopening the entry of vaccinated international visitors from Aug. 1.
Pakistan, on the other hand, is on the red list for entering the United Kingdom.
“We are proud of our people-to-people links with our 1.6m diaspora at the heart of our relationship. We recognize that many people are disappointed that Pakistan remains on the UK’s Covid-19 red list,” tweeted the British High Commission of Pakistan.
“The decision to keep Pakistan on the red list is based on data & science.”
Meanwhile Pakistan, on Aug.9, Pakistan recorded 3,884 new coronavirus cases into its overall tally of infections, said the National Command and Operation Center on Aug.10.
“Vaccine Statistics: Vaccine administered across Pakistan on Aug. 9: 1,033,989. Total vaccine administered till now: 38,722,292,” tweeted the National Command and Operation Center, the main body governing the policies and implementation of the national Covid-19 effort of Pakistan.
The National Command and Operation Center, a department leading Pakistan’s campaign against the pandemic, said the country’s total cases rose to 1,075,504, including 967,073 recoveries. The number of active cases rose to 84,427, including 4,530 critical patients.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra