Only people who can show evidence that they have taken Covid-19 vaccination will be allowed to perform this year’s Umrah pilgrimage which starts in the holy month of Ramadan.
It was also not clear whether the policy, which comes amid an upsurge9 in coronavirus infections in Saudi Arabia, would be extended to the annual Hajj pilgrimage later this year.
Saudi Arabia has reported more than 393,000 coronavirus infections and over 6,700 deaths from the virus.
The kingdom’s health ministry said it has administered more than five million coronavirus vaccines, in a country with a population of over 34 million.
Last month, King Salman replaced the Hajj minister, months after the kingdom hosted the smallest Hajj in modern history due to the pandemic.
Mohammad Benten was relieved of his post and replaced by Essam bin Saeed, according to a royal decree published by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Only 10,000 Muslim residents of Saudi Arabia itself were allowed to take part in the Hajj last year, a far cry from the 2.5 million Muslims from around the world who participated in 2019.
With COVID-19 vaccination drives taking place across the globe, the idea of vaccine passports or certificates has become a hotly debated solution to safely reopen international borders for travel and boost tourism sectors that have immensely suffered under coronavirus lockdowns.
Last month China launched a health certificate programme for Chinese citizens travelling internationally.
The digital certificate, which shows a user’s vaccination status and virus test results, is available for Chinese citizens via a programme on Chinese social media platform WeChat.
The United Kingdom’s government is also considering asking people to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to access crowded spaces such as pubs or sports events.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said a certificate is likely to be needed for international travel.
However, British parliamentarians from across the political divide recently in a letter opposed any such move in the future, calling it “divisive and discriminatory”.
David Nwamini, Ekweremadu accuser, seeks asylum in UK
” they will kill me if I come to Nigeria” — he pleads to court
The three were found guilty at the Old Bailey of conspiring to arrange the travel of a young man with a view to exploiting him for his body part.
The Ekweremadus’ 25-year-old daughter, Sonia, has a severe kidney disease. It was for her the donor was sourced and brought to the UK.
According to David, he was approached with an opportunity to work in the UK, which he had always dreamed of but never thought would happen.
“He (Dr Obina Obeta) did not tell me he brought me here for this reason. He did not tell me anything about this.
“I would have not agreed to any of this. My body is not for sale.
“I worry for my safety in Nigeria. Those people can do anything. I think they could arrest me or kill me in Nigeria.
“My plan now is to work and to get an education and to play football,” David said, adding that he does not want to claim compensation from the “bad people” as it would be “cursed and bad luck”.
He also said someone visited his father in Nigeria and asked the father to get him to drop the case.
Although it is lawful to donate a kidney, it becomes criminal if there is a reward.
The Ekweremadus were arrested on June 21 last year as they arrived at Heathrow Airport.
UK court shuns Nigeria, ECOWAS pleas as it sentences Ekweremadu to 10 years imprisonment for organ trafficking
Nigeria missing as UNCTAD lists top African countries in service exports.
Nigeria was not listed among the top five countries in Africa in service exports in 2021 as Egypt tops the list as announced by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in December.
Morocco followed Egypt in services exports then Ghana, South Africa, and Ethiopia.
Egypt also came third on the list of the top five countries regarding goods exports in Africa in 2021 by around $40 billion, achieving growth of around 60 percent year-on-year.
In maritime routes, Egypt was preceded by Morocco, South Africa, then Ghana, and Togo.
Earlier this month, Egypt announced a plan to develop Egyptian commodity exports to African countries to reach $15 billion during the coming few years.
Egypt’s exports to Africa have increased by 25.4 percent during Q1 2022 compared to Q1 2021, the Cabinet said in a statement in mid-December.
According to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egypt’s exports to the African Union countries have reached more than $5.4 billion in 2021 compared to around $3.9 billion in 2020.
Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, and Kenya received more than 60 percent of Egyptian exports, according to CAPMAS.
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