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Saudi Arabia updates COVID SOPs for Grand Mosque in Makkah, Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

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  • Immunisation status check of people entering holy mosques scrapped by Kingdom.
  • Pilgrims no longer require permits to pray at Grand Mosque or visit Prophet’s Mosque.
  • Wearing masks still mandatory; all other social distancing curbs scrapped.

JEDDAH: The immunisation status check of people entering the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah has been scrapped, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced Thursday.

The measures came into effect Thursday after the ministry reviewed the coronavirus situation at the two holy mosques, The Saudi Gazzate reported.

Apart from scrapping the immunisation check, the ministry also cancelled the requirement for registering the immunisation data to obtain Umrah permits for pilgrims from outside the Kingdom.

“Permits are no longer required to pray at the Grand Mosque or visit the Prophet’s Mosque, but it is still mandatory to obtain permits for performing Umrah and visit AlRawdah AlSharifa in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah,” the publication reported.

Although wearing masks is still mandatory, other social distancing measures at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque have been scrapped.

“The ministry also noted the abolition of the requirement to submit a PCR test upon arrival for foreign pilgrims and the abolition of the requirement of institutional quarantine and home quarantine for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom,” it added.

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Train hits dumper at Gojra level crossing

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At an unmanned level crossing in Gojra late on Sunday night, a train carrying two Rehman Baba Express drivers was injured when it struck a dumper.

Rehman Baba Express struck a dumper at Gojra level crossing No. 99 while traveling from Peshawar to Karachi, according to details. Two train drivers were stranded inside the debris, and the train’s engine sustained significant damage in the crash.

When rescue personnel arrived, they broke the engine’s body to free the drivers who were still in critical condition. All of the passengers were safe throughout the collision, according to railway authorities.

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There won’t be a total solar eclipse today in Pakistan.

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This Wednesday will be the first full solar eclipse of the year. But it won’t be visible in Asia.

Around 11:07 am PDT, or 9:07 pm local time in Pakistan, the eclipse will initially be visible near the Pacific Coast of Mexico. After that, the eclipse will pass through a large region of the United States, from Texas to Maine, and into Canada.

The total eclipse will last for four minutes, and the eclipse will continue for five hours and ten minutes.

The eclipse will proceed into Texas, passing through over a dozen states before reaching southern Ontario in Canada, according to NASA. At around 5:16 p.m. NDT, the eclipse will leave mainland North America and go out of Newfoundland, Canada.

According to NASA, there is a path where the eclipse will be visible in its entirety, and outside of this area, spectators may notice a partial eclipse, in which the moon covers part of the sun but not all of it.

In the ensuing two decades, there won’t be another full solar eclipse. On October 2, South America will witness the second solar eclipse of the year. Yet it will just be a portion of it.

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Pakistani stocks are rising, and the KSE-100 breaks the 69,000 barrier.

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The benchmark KSE-100 Index increased 1.76 percent on Monday, passing beyond the 69,000 barrier for the first time in its history. This maintained Pakistani stock market’s record-breaking run, as investors remained upbeat about potential rate cuts by the central bank.

The most recent advances also follow Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s iftar dinner given by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Makkah, at a time when Riyadh is anticipated to announce an approximately $1 billion investment in Reko Diq, one of the world’s greatest reserves of copper and gold.

After reaching a high of 69,720.03, the KSE-100 Index concluded at 69,619.98 with a net gain of 1,203.20 points by the time trading was closed for the day. This was due to international investors, both individual and institutional, making purchases.

The meeting between Shehbaz and the Saudi crown prince, also referred to as MBS, may open doors for investment in a variety of industries, including mining, energy, and agriculture.

With record-high energy and interest rates driving up the cost of conducting business to an unaffordable level, investors are clamoring for foreign investment to prop up the economy.

Any improvement in this area would not only contribute to the rupee’s appreciation but also increase the value of cheap equities due to the anticipated purchasing frenzy, as buyers will not pass up the chance to purchase at the reduced prices.

However, there is a big question mark over the heightened expectations that the State Bank of Pakistan will begin reducing interest rates following the consumer price index (CPI) showing a steady fall in inflation over the past three months, particularly the greater than anticipated decline in March.

The reason is that, given Islamabad’s desperation to secure another package from the Washington-based lender, there is an impending hike in gasoline costs in addition to power and gas charges. This move will further sustain the inflationary pressure under the IMF criteria.

Meanwhile, the most recent US data has reduced expectations for potential rate reduction by the Federal Reserve, which is driving up the price of gold as speculative purchasing occurs.

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