Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has refused to accept COVID-19 test results from aspiring Pakistani pilgrims conducted in Pakistani government laboratories.
The Saudi Hajj Ministry emphasized that the pilgrim’s COVID-19 test findings will be valid if completed at one of six certified laboratories, in a recent policy adjustment.
It also said that the tests must be completed 72 hours before the trip, rather than 48 hours as previously stated.
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According to sources, the Saudi authorities had previously communicated this to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, but the latter had requested that the COVID-19 test reports from government laboratories be made available at the government’s expense to save money.
As a result, each Hajj pilgrim will be charged an additional Rs. 4,250, and 81,210 Pakistani travelers will be charged an additional Rs. 345 million for COVID-19 testing.
The new rules came only days after Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) stated that anyone beyond the age of 65 will be denied access.
The pilgrims should also acquire the coronavirus vaccine dosages that their governments allow and test negative for the virus 48 hours before coming to Saudi Arabia, according to the guidelines.