Foreign pilgrims barred from Hajj this year
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday announced it would hold a “very limited” Hajj this year owing to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing the citizens and residents of all nationalities living inside the country to perform the religious duty, the state news agency reported.
The decision comes as Saudi Arabia struggles to contain the virus amid a new spike in daily cases and deaths. “It was decided to hold the pilgrimage this year with very limited numbers… with different nationalities in the kingdom,” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the Hajj ministry.
The SPA said that the decision had been taken in the light of the increase in Covid-19 cases around the world, the lack of a vaccine and difficulty maintaining social distance among large numbers of pilgrims coming from overseas.
In its statement, the Hajj ministry pointed out that coronavirus (Covid-19) had spread to more than 180 countries around the world, and the deaths related to Covid-19 had reached almost half a million and over 7 million cases had been confirmed globally.
“It has been decided that Hajj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia, would be able to perform it,” said the statement.
“This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings,” it added.