Saudi Arabia Bans Foreigners from Hajj Pilgrimage On Concerns of COVID-19 Pandemic
Saturday, 12-June-2021 23:10
DUBAI, NETRALNEWS.COM - Saudi Arabia has banned pilgrims from other countries from performing the Hajj pilgrimage for the second year, and restricted the organization of the worship for only its citizens and residents. The measure to ban foreigners from conducting Hajj is taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj said that only people between the ages of 18 and 65 who have been vaccinated or immunized against COVID-19, and are free from chronic diseases, can perform the Hajj, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday (06/12/2021).
The ministry, which manages the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, has also set a limit of 60,000 pilgrims who can attend this year's Hajj.
"This decision (was made) to ensure the safety of the Hajj amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus," Saudi Arabia's Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said in a televised press conference by SPA.
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"Although vaccines are available, there is uncertainty about the virus, and some countries are still recording a high number of COVID cases. Another challenge is the different variants of the virus, hence the decision to limit Hajj," said al-Rabiah.
Minister al-Rabiah said only approved COVID vaccines from Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson would be allowed for Hajj.
Sources told Reuters in May that a plan was being considered to ban pilgrims from abroad from performing the Hajj, which is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.
Before the pandemic required people to maintain social distancing, some 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina for the week-long hajj.
As for the Umrah pilgrimage, which can be performed all year round, the Saudis generate around US $12 billion (approximately IDR170.7 trillion) in revenues per year, according to official government data, as reported by Antara.
Reporter : turkhan
Editor : turkhan