The annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca subsequent month will likely be restricted to 60,000 and restricted to folks dwelling in Saudi Arabia due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Saudi Press Agency said on Saturday, as the authorities preserve tight restrictions on an occasion that often attracts hundreds of thousands of individuals from round the world yearly.
The occasion was almost deserted in its entirety final yr, when solely about 1,000 folks have been ready to participate in the ritual with social distancing and masks required.
The hajj, which all Muslims who’re bodily and financially ready are supposed to full not less than as soon as, is scheduled to start in mid-July, and attendance will likely be restricted to pilgrims who’ve been vaccinated and are between 18 and 65 years previous, the press company mentioned.
The Saudi authorities indicated last month that the ritual wouldn’t return to regular this yr. Fahad Nazer, a spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, mentioned on Twitter that there could be “preventative & precautionary measures that ensure the health & safety of pilgrims.”
The determination, which was attributed to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, will come as a disappointment to many Muslims, who typically save up and anticipate years to make the pilgrimage in the hopes of acquiring a hajj visa. Obtaining a spot may be troublesome as a result of demand is exceptionally excessive and Saudi Arabia limits the variety of pilgrims who can attend from every nation annually.
Saudi Arabia has reported 7,537 coronavirus deaths, in accordance to a New York Times database. It just lately reopened to worldwide air journey, but additionally mentioned that vaccination will likely be required for entry to most buildings and public transportation beginning in August.