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Saudi Arabia bars foreign travellers from Hajj due to COVID | Coronavirus pandemic News

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Saudi Arabia says this pilgrimage shall be restricted to 60,000 residents and residents.

No foreign travellers shall be allowed to carry out the Hajj as soon as once more this 12 months after Saudi Arabia restricted the annual pilgrimage to residents and residents, and set a most of 60,000 pilgrims in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“These wishing to carry out the hajj should be freed from continual ailments and be vaccinated” and between the ages of 18 and 65, the ministry stated in an announcement on Saturday.

“In mild of what the entire world is witnessing with the coronavirus pandemic … and the emergence of recent variants, the related authorities have continued to monitor the worldwide well being scenario,” the assertion added.

Final 12 months, the dominion reduced the number of pilgrims to about 1,000 Saudi residents and residents to assist stop the unfold of the coronavirus, after barring Muslims overseas from the ceremony for the primary time in trendy occasions.

Two-thirds had been residents from among the many 160 completely different nationalities that might have usually been represented on the Hajj. One-third had been Saudi safety personnel and medical employees. This 12 months the pilgrimage is predicted to begin in mid-July.

Hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for each able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, is a serious supply of revenue for the Saudi authorities.

Earlier than the pandemic enforced social distancing globally, some 2.5 million pilgrims used to go to the holiest websites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj, and the lesser, year-round Umrah pilgrimage, which altogether earned the dominion about $12bn a 12 months, in accordance to official information.

The congregation of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the globe could possibly be a serious reason for coronavirus transmission.

Saudi Arabia has thus far recorded greater than 463,000 coronavirus infections, together with 7,536 deaths.

The well being ministry says it has administered greater than 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses, in a rustic with a inhabitants of about 34 million.

In a leisure of coronavirus curbs final October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the primary time in seven months and partially resumed the Umrah pilgrimage.

The restrict on Umrah pilgrims is 20,000 a day, with a complete of 60,000 worshippers allowed to carry out day by day prayers on the mosque.

The Umrah often attracts hundreds of thousands of Muslims from throughout the globe annually. Authorities stated the Umrah could be allowed to return to full capability as soon as the specter of the pandemic has abated.

Normal view of the Kaaba on the Grand Mosque, which is sort of empty of worshippers, after Saudi authorities suspended Umrah in 2020 amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak [File:Reuters]

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