Saudi Arabia bars international pilgrims for Hajj this year, govt says
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia announced on Monday that only a limited number of pilgrims will be allowed to perform Hajj in the kingdom this season over the coronavirus concerns, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The decision was made given the increase in the number of cases in most countries and the risks of the virus spread in crowded gatherings, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Saudi Arabia has so far registered a total of 161,005 COVID-19 infections, with 54,523 active cases including 2,045 critical ones.
An estimated two million people would otherwise have visited Mecca and Medina this summer for the annual gathering. There had been fears the Hajj might be cancelled altogether. In normal times the pilgrimage is one of the most significant moments in the Muslim religious calendar. But only citizens from countries around the world who are already resident in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to attend this year.