Saudi Arabia to Bar Overseas Hajj Pilgrims for Second Year
Saudi Arabia will only allow nationals and residents to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage for the second year in a row to contain the spread of the coronavirus and its variants inside the kingdom.
The Hajj and Umra Ministry said it will permit access to 60,000 pilgrims between the ages of 18 and 65 who have received vaccines and do not suffer any chronic diseases, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.
Covid-19 shots from Pfizer Inc., Astrazeneca Plc., Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson are the only inoculations considered valid for the Hajj, Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said in a press conference in Riyadh Saturday.
“The world is still suffering from this pandemic and that’s why we made sure to limit the Hajj this year inside the kingdom,” Al-Rabiah said. “We don’t want any virus variants to emerge too,” he added.
The Hajj is obligatory for all able-bodied adult Muslims once in their lifetime if they can afford it. Last year, Saudi Arabia restricted the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca to about 1,000 Muslims.
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