Saudi Arabia bars foreign pilgrims from Hajj due to COVID-19
Saudi Arabia barred foreign pilgrims from hajj due to COVID-19, it restricted the annual pilgrimage to citizens and residents and set a maximum of 60,000 pilgrims in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry said in a statement on Saturday that, “Those wishing to perform the hajj must be free of chronic diseases and be vaccinated and between the ages of 18 and 65.
“In light of what the whole world is witnessing with the coronavirus pandemic and the emergence of new variants, the relevant authorities have continued to monitor the global health situation.”
Last year, the kingdom reduced the number of pilgrims to about 1,000 Saudi citizens and residents to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after barring Muslims abroad from the rite for the first time in modern times.
Saudi Arabia has so far recorded more than 463,000 coronavirus infections, including 7,536 deaths.
The health ministry says it has administered more than 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses, in a country with a population of about 34 million.
In a relaxation of coronavirus curbs last October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the first time in seven months and partially resumed the Umrah pilgrimage.
The Umrah usually attracts millions of Muslims from across the globe each year. Authorities said the Umrah would be allowed to return to full capacity once the threat of the pandemic has abated.
READ ALSO: 2021 Hajj to hold with special conditions