Saudi Arabia on Saturday announced that no foreign pilgrims will be allowed to perform the Hajj, Muslims’ annual pilgrimage, once again this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only 60,000 citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia will be allowed to travel to Makkah, the holy city, to perform Hajj.
Last year, the Saudi Arabia reduced the number of pilgrims to about 1,000 Saudi citizens and residents to help prevent COVID-19. This year the pilgrimage is expected to start in mid-July, as world is still recovering from the second wave.
According to the official statement, those wishing to perform the hajj must be free of chronic disease, be vaccinated and between the ages of 18 and 65.
According to Al Jazeera English, Saudi Arabia has so far recorded more than 463,000 coronavirus infections, including 7,536 deaths.
Umrah, another pilgrimage in Islam, partially resumed last October after Saudi authorities opened Haramain, two holy mosques after seven months. The limit on Umrah pilgrims is 20,000 a day, with a total of 60,000 worshippers allowed to perform daily prayers at the mosque.
Before the pandemic, Over 2.5 million people performed Hajj which would take a week long rites to complete.