By: Zahid Jadwat
Messages circulating on social media claim that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has dropped COVID-19 vaccination requirements for international pilgrims. This has since been confirmed to be misinformation.
In an interview on Radio Islam, President of the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) Shaheen Essop clarified the matter, saying that international pilgrims are still required to provide a COVID-19 vaccine certificate when travelling to the Kingdom.
“There has been no notification from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that indicates vaccinations are no longer needed to enter the Kingdom,” he said.
Official Update From @HajMinistry
All pilgrims can now enter the Haramain, without registering their vaccination status. Alhamdu lillah! pic.twitter.com/kMDzuZcddi
— ???????????????????????????????? (@HaramainInfo) March 9, 2022
In a Tweet, the official Haramain Info account announced that “all pilgrims can now enter the Haramain, without registering their vaccination status”.
However, Essop said, this only applies to those residing within the Kingdom, as international visitors are still required to be vaccinated upon entry into the country.
“There is still need for vaccinations and the booster to gain entry into the country, but [when] gaining entry into the Haramain you don’t need to provide your vaccination certificate,” he said.
Essop warned against travelling to the Kingdom without a valid vaccine certificate. He said, “we need to respect the requirements of another country” in the same way as one would respect the rules at a residence they visit.
Listen to the full interview here: