The religious rites will begin on Sunday. Only 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi citizens and residents from more than 558,000 applicants have been chosen for the downsized pilgrimage.
Hundreds of cars crowded roads linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on Monday, as Riyadh permitted citizens vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel abroad more than a year after barring external trips.
Saudi Arabia has administered 15.7 million vaccine doses so far, enough to have inoculated 23% of the population, according to the Reuters COVID-19 tracker.
Saudi Arabia also cancels social distance measures and oks full capacity attendance at public gatherings, transportation, restaurants and cinemas.
Pictures and footage on Sunday showed people praying side by side, making straight rows of worshippers that are formations revered in performing Muslim prayers, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last year.
The ministry explained that it will be limited to those who received two doses of the virus vaccine approved in the Kingdom, and the cases exempted from taking the vaccine, as shown by the “Tawakkalna” application.
All passengers travelling to the kingdom are required to download "Tawakkalna" mobile application before departure and upload their vaccination status.
The Qassim region is famed for its Sukkari dates, which auctioneer Abdulaziz Al Falwa says can vary in price from 5 riyals ($1.33) for 3kg to up to 700 riyals($186.66), depending on the quality.
Saudi Press Agency said that citizens of any country who hold one of the three visas, and who are travelling on one of the country’s national carriers — Saudia, Flynas or Flyadeal — can now receive a 12-month tourism visa on arrival.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has granted approval for entry of individuals vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine starting from Jan.1, 2022," the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed the development of Sputnik V, said in a statement.