Hajj in Saudi Arabia: Number of people allowed to participate in annual pilgrimage severely limited for second year in a row

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Hajj in Saudi Arabia: Number of people allowed to participate in annual pilgrimage severely limited for second year in a row


Saudi Arabia is limiting the number of Muslims who can participate in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina – called the Hajj – for a second year, due to COVID-19.

Only 60,000 of its own citizens and residents will be able to join the event, the Saudi News Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

This figure will be greater than last year, when barely 1,000 people were allowed to, but still far less than the two million and over who normally visit Islam’s holiest sites for Hajj, including many British.

Only people aged 18 to 65 who have been vaccinated or immunized against the virus and are free from chronic disease
diseases, will be able to join the pilgrimage in mid-July of this year.

The kingdom’s Minister of Health. Tawfiq al Rabiah, said: “The decision (has been taken) to ensure the safety of the Hajj amid the uncertainty over the coronavirus.

“Despite the availability of the vaccine, there is uncertainty about the virus and some countries still have a high number of
Case of covid.

“The other challenge concerns the different variants of the virus, hence the decision to restrict Hajj. “

The minister said that only those who have received the Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be able to participate in the Hajj.

Image:
Saudi Minister of Health Tawfiq al Rabiah

Saudi Arabia’s decision is likely to be disappointed by many Muslims, who see it as a unique duty for any valid believer who can afford it.

The week-long Hajj and smaller Umrah year-round pilgrimages together brought the kingdom in around $ 12 billion a year before the pandemic, according to official data.

In 2020, two-thirds of the attendees were foreign residents of Saudi Arabia among the 160 different nationalities that would normally have been represented at the event. One-third were Saudi national security and medical personnel.

the COVID-19[feminine[feminine The pandemic is not the first time the event has been affected by disease, with an outbreak of malaria in 632, cholera outbreaks in 1821 and 1865 and more recently Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, sparking concerns and controls.

Saudi Arabia had closed its borders for months to limit the spread of the virus, and so far it has largely escaped the worst of its effects.

About 462,000 cases of the virus have been reported, as well as 7,500 deaths, and some 15.4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the country of more than 30 million people.

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