Saudi Arabia will only accept 60,000 citizens and residents to perform Hajj pilgrimage this year, shutting the doors to pilgrims from abroad.
Only 60,000 people from all nationalities living in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to perform the ritual due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said in a written statement.
It added that those who do not have chronic diseases, between the age of 18 and 65 and have been vaccinated will be allowed to perform Hajj.
On May 9, the ministry had announced that this year’s pilgrimage will be held amid special health and safety measures in the shadow of COVID-19 outbreak.
The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site Kaaba in the city of Mecca, is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims are required to perform it at least once in their life if they have the means to do so.
A total of 15.61 million vaccine doses have been administered in Saudi Arabia, according to Our World in Data, a tracking website.
The kingdom’s coronavirus tally hit 463,703 cases, including 7,537 deaths.
Since first appearing in China in December 2019, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 192 countries and regions.
The US, India, and Brazil are currently the countries hardest hit in the world.
The pandemic has killed more than 3.78 million people worldwide, with over 175.32 million confirmed cases, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.-AA