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First pilgrims arrive at Mecca's Grand Mosque after 6 months

Mecca's Grand Mosque on Sunday opened its doors to the first group of pilgrims performing Umrah after six months of Covid-19 restrictions.

The pilgrims entered the mosque at 6 a.m. after applying through Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's Eatmarna app, reports Arab News.

As part of its measures to combat the pandemic, Saudi Arabia had suspended the Umrah pilgrimage and prayers in mosques in mid-March.

The Kingdom also halted international flights and implemented a lockdown.

To accommodate a quota of 6,000 pilgrims per day, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has prepared five meeting points, including the Al-Gaza, Ajyad and Al-Shasha sites, where pilgrims will meet and join health professionals on buses to the Grand Mosque.

Thermal cameras will be placed at the entrances and inside halls of the Grand Mosque to monitor body temperature spikes and issue alerts if necessary.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 employees have been trained to monitor the rituals of Umrah in the Grand Mosque.

The mosque will be cleaned 10 times a day between each group's presence, the Arab News report said.

Escalators leading to the top floors have also been equipped with cleaning devices, while hand-washing devices have been placed at the mosque's entrances.

As of Sunday, Saudi Arabia has reported a total of 335,997 coronavirus cases and 4,850 deaths..