According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Saudi Arabia has restricted the annual Hajj pilgrimage due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year foreign pilgrims will not be allowed to perform the Hajj once again in Mecca. Only the citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia who are suitable for some conditions will perform the Hajj.
These people aged between 18 and 65 who have been vaccinated or immunized against COVID-19 and are free of chronic diseases will be able to perform the Hajj. Saudi Arabia also set a maximum of 60.000 pilgrim’s limitations.
“The decision (was made) to guarantee the safety of hajj amid uncertainty over COVID-19,” Health Minister of Saudi Arabia Tawfiq al-Rabiah said in a press conference carried by SPA.
According to the ministry, only licensed COVID-19 vaccinations from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson will be valid for the hajj.
The Kingdom, after excluding Muslims in the modern day for the first time from their ceremony, reduced last year’s pilgrimage to approximately 1,000 Saudi nationals and residents to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
Before the COVID-19, approximately 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit Mecca and Medina for the Hajj and Umrah. This means about $12 billion in revenue for Saudi Arabia.