This year, Saudi Arabia has increased the Hajj pilgrimage cap to one million people
Saudi Arabia–After restricting attendance in the last two years because to the Covid-19 outbreak, Saudi Arabia will let one million pilgrims to do Hajj this year. “One million pilgrims, both international and local,” according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, will be able to participate in the annual pilgrimage.
Pilgrims must be under 65 years old and completely immunised against Covid-19 using a vaccination authorised by the Saudi Ministry of Health, according to a statement posted on Saturday by official news agency SPA. Pilgrims coming from outside Saudi Arabia must submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test using a sample collected within 72 hours of their departure, according to the ministry.
In 2020, Saudi officials will only allow 1,000 pilgrims from within the country to do the Hajj. Last year, the number of participants was increased to 60,000, with participants selected through a lottery for fully vaccinated citizens and residents. This year’s trip, which will take place over five days in June, will have a quota of fewer than half of the 2.5 million individuals who did Hajj in 2019. The pilgrimage is one of Islam’s five pillars, and it is required of all able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetimes.
The rise in participation this year coincides with the kingdom’s relaxation of Covid-19 regulations. It stopped “social separation measures in all open and closed areas,” including mosques, in March, and currently requires masks exclusively in closed settings. According to Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry, more than 751,000 coronavirus infections have been reported, with 9,055 fatalities. For the first time in two years, it noted in its daily statement on April 6 that there had been no fatalities from Covid-19.