Saudi Arabia bars foreigners from hajj due to COVID, allows only 60,000 pilgrims from kingdom

Saudi Arabia bars foreigners from hajj because of COVID, permits solely 60,000 pilgrims from kingdom

Saudi Arabia stated this yr’s hajj, which is able to start in mid-July, can even be restricted to these ages 18 to 65, and vaccination is obligatory

Saudi Arabia bars foreigners from hajj due to COVID, allows only 60,000 pilgrims from kingdom

Saudi Arabia stated this yr’s hajj, which is able to start in mid-July, can even be restricted to these ages 18 to 65, and vaccination is obligatory. AP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia introduced Saturday this yr’s hajj pilgrimage shall be restricted to not more than 60,000 individuals, all of them from throughout the kingdom, as a result of ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement by the dominion comes after it ran an extremely pared-down pilgrimage final yr over the virus, however nonetheless allowed a small variety of the trustworthy to participate within the annual ceremony.

An announcement on the state-run Saudi Press Company quoted the dominion’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry making the announcement. It stated this yr’s hajj, which is able to start in mid-July, shall be restricted to these ages 18 to 65.

These participating have to be vaccinated as effectively, the ministry stated.

“The dominion of Saudi Arabia, which is honoured to host pilgrims yearly, confirms that this association comes out of its fixed concern for the well being, security and safety of pilgrims in addition to the security of their nations,” the assertion stated.

In final yr’s hajj, as few as 1,000 individuals already residing in Saudi Arabia had been chosen to participate within the hajj. Two-thirds had been international residents from among the many 160 completely different nationalities that may have usually been represented on the hajj. One-third had been Saudi safety personnel and medical workers.

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Every year, as much as 2 million Muslims carry out the hajj, a bodily demanding and sometimes expensive pilgrimage that pulls the trustworthy from around the globe. The hajj, required of all able-bodied Muslims to carry out as soon as of their lifetime, is seen as an opportunity to wipe clear previous sins and convey about better humility and unity amongst Muslims.

The dominion’s Al Saud ruling household stakes its legitimacy on this oil-rich nation on overseeing and defending the hajj websites. Guaranteeing the hajj occurs has been a precedence for them.

Illness outbreaks have at all times been a priority surrounding the hajj. Pilgrims fought off a malaria outbreak in 632, cholera in 1821 killed an estimated 20,000, and one other cholera outbreak in 1865 killed 15,000 earlier than spreading worldwide.

Extra lately, Saudi Arabia confronted hazard from a special coronavirus , one which causes the Center East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. The dominion elevated its public well being measures in the course of the hajj in 2012 and 2013, urging the sick and the aged not to participate.

Lately, Saudi officers additionally instituted bans on pilgrims coming from nations affected by the Ebola virus.

Saudi Arabia had closed its borders for months to try to cease the unfold of the coronavirus . For the reason that begin of the pandemic, the dominion has reported over 462,000 circumstances of the virus with 7,500 deaths. It has administered some 15.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, in response to the World Well being Group. The dominion is residence to over 30 million individuals.

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