Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Saudi Arabia to allow 60,000 vaccinated residents to perform Hajj, bars foreigners again

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Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it will only allow 60,000 vaccinated residents of the kingdom to perform the annual Hajj, state media reported.

The Hajj ministry said this year’s pilgrimage would be “open for nationals and residents of the kingdom, limited to 60,000 pilgrims”, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

“Those wishing to perform the Hajj must be free of chronic diseases and be vaccinated” and between the ages of 18 and 65, it said.

Only up to 10,000 Muslims took part in the Hajj last year, a far cry from the 2.5 million who participated in the five-day annual pilgrimage in 2019.

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 all-year-round umrah pilgrimage.

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.

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.

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