The Hajj and Umrah pilgrimmages will remain suspended until further notice.
Saudi Arabia will begin easing restrictions on movement and travel this week, more than two months after stringent measures were introduced to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Restrictions will be lifted in three phases, culminating in the curfew completely ending — with the exception of the holy city of Makkah — from June 21, the state news agency reported in a statement early on Tuesday.
The Hajj and Umrah pilgrimmages — which attract millions of travellers from around the world — will remain suspended until further notice.
The kingdom has so far recorded 74,795 cases of COVID-19 with 399 deaths. More than 2,000 cases are still being reported daily.
The first phase, starting on Thursday, will see the 24-hour curfew reduced to between 3pm-6am countrywide.
Free movement between regions and some retail and wholesale activities, including malls, will be allowed to resume.
Saudi Arabia had imposed 24-hour curfews on most towns and cities but eased them for the start of the fasting month of Ramadan. The 24-hour curfew was reimposed during the five-day Muslim Eid Al Fitr holiday, which began on Sunday.
From Sunday May 30, free movement will be allowed between 6am and 8pm, Saudi Press Agency reported. Domestic flights will be allowed to resume, but a ban on international flights will stay.
Mosques can hold prayers once again, subject to social distancing and hygiene measures, except for in Makkah where restrictions on attendance will stay in place.
Public and private sector employees will be allowed to return to their offices.
Social gatherings of more than 50 people will still be banned, including weddings and funerals.
Citizens will still be urged to wear masks in public and continue hygiene and social distancing measures after June 21.
Makkah will stay one phase behind the rest of the country, with curfew times adjusted to 3pm-6am until June 20, revised up to 8pm thereafter. Prayers will only be allowed to resume in mosques from June 21.
Governments around the world are trying to stop the spread of the disease while scrambling for ways to relieve pressure on their economies, which are facing a historic downturn with millions pushed into unemployment.
Some 1,500 holy sites are preparing to welcome visitors, the channel reported, showing footage of workers disinfecting floors and carpets. The decision comes weeks before the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah.
Outside those exceptional areas, curfews will be eased between 9am and 5pm (0600-1400 GMT) effective on Sunday until May 13. The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began on Friday.
In a tumultuous year marked by economic and social upheavals worldwide as nations battled the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and compounded by tragic disasters such as the Beirut port blasts and several natural calamities including devastating floods in Sudan
The decisions we make Monday will shape the world you will live in tomorrow, said Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), while addressing the Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) Virtual Forum during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2021.
Improving technology and digitalisation have sure contributed to the coping of countries and governments with the one-year-old Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Yet, the most compelling realisation is that health is the key to happiness, dependent on one’s attitude and perspective in life; and for which each and every individual must be responsible for.