Hajj 2021 is set to start this year on July 17, and with it comes travel rules. Saudi Arabia has now announced that the country will permit only 60000 vaccinated citizens of the Kingdom to perform the pilgrimage this year. The official statement read that this year’s Hajj is “open for nationals and residents of the kingdom, limited to 60,000 pilgrims.”
It is clear that the pilgrimage will only be open for those Saudi citizens who have been fully vaccinated, and those who are below the age of 65. Moreover, pilgrims should not have any chronic illnesses. These measures have been taken due to the ongoing COVID situation across the world.
The Hajj usually sees millions of pilgrims will once again see a much less number of pilgrims this year, after only 10000 Muslims took part in it last year. In 2019, the pilgrimage had recorded
2.5 million pilgrims.
The Hajj Ministry said in a statement, “In light of what the whole world is witnessing with the coronavirus pandemic… and the emergence of new variants, the relevant authorities have continued to monitor the global health situation. Considering the large crowds that perform Hajj, spending long periods of time in multiple and specific places… required the highest levels of health precautions.”
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia had relaxed its restrictions on the year round Umrah, and had opened the Grand Mosque last October. Currently, 20000 pilgrims can go for Umrah daily, while 60000 worshippers are permitted to enter the Grand Mosque for daily prayers. The Umrah will only return to its former self after the pandemic dies down.