Home News Saudi Arabia bars international travellers from Hajj resulting from COVID

Saudi Arabia bars international travellers from Hajj resulting from COVID

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Saudi Arabia says this pilgrimage can be restricted to 60,000 residents and residents.

No international travellers can be allowed to carry out the Hajj as soon as once more this 12 months after Saudi Arabia restricted the annual pilgrimage to residents and residents, and set a most of 60,000 pilgrims in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“These wishing to carry out the hajj should be freed from continual ailments and be vaccinated” and between the ages of 18 and 65, the ministry mentioned in an announcement on Saturday.

“In mild of what the entire world is witnessing with the coronavirus pandemic … and the emergence of recent variants, the related authorities have continued to observe the worldwide well being scenario,” the assertion added.

Final 12 months, the dominion reduced the number of pilgrims to about 1,000 Saudi residents and residents to assist forestall the unfold of the coronavirus, after barring Muslims overseas from the ceremony for the primary time in trendy occasions.

Two-thirds have been residents from among the many 160 totally different nationalities that may have usually been represented on the Hajj. One-third have been Saudi safety personnel and medical workers. This 12 months the pilgrimage is predicted to start out in mid-July.

Hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for each able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, is a significant supply of revenue for the Saudi authorities.

Earlier than the pandemic enforced social distancing globally, some 2.5 million pilgrims used to go to the holiest websites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj, and the lesser, year-round Umrah pilgrimage, which altogether earned the dominion about $12bn a 12 months, based on official knowledge.

The congregation of thousands and thousands of pilgrims from around the globe could possibly be a significant explanation for coronavirus transmission.

Saudi Arabia has to date recorded greater than 463,000 coronavirus infections, together with 7,536 deaths.

The well being ministry says it has administered greater than 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses, in a rustic with a inhabitants of about 34 million.

In a leisure of coronavirus curbs final October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the primary time in seven months and partially resumed the Umrah pilgrimage.

The restrict on Umrah pilgrims is 20,000 a day, with a complete of 60,000 worshippers allowed to carry out every day prayers on the mosque.

The Umrah often attracts thousands and thousands of Muslims from throughout the globe every year. Authorities mentioned the Umrah could be allowed to return to full capability as soon as the specter of the pandemic has abated.

Common view of the Kaaba on the Grand Mosque, which is nearly empty of worshippers, after Saudi authorities suspended Umrah in 2020 amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak [File:Reuters]