A few workers are seen nearby empty Kaaba after the precautions against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are taken in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on April 07, 2020. International umrah visits have been halted since 2nd of March and visits for Masjid al-Nabawi and Kaaba at the Masjid al-Haram also suspended to all visitors since 20th of March.
Saudi Arabia announced a “two-phase normalization plan” early Thursday for Mecca with the aim of easing coronavirus measures and gradually returning to normal life. The first phase will begin on May 31, in which entering and exiting Mecca will be allowed between 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Friday prayers and other congregational prayers at the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) will continue in line with existing health measures, the statement said.
The second phase will begin on June 21, in which citizens will be allowed outside between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The statement also said that coiffeurs and barbers will not be allowed to open yet while weddings and funerals can be attended by 50 people at most.
Since the novel coronavirus emerged last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. There are more than 5.6 million confirmed infections globally with nearly 355,000 deaths, while an excess of 2.3 million people have recovered.