Riyadh: Only limited number of Saudi citizens and residents would be allowed to perform Hajj this after the government decided that it will bar arrivals from abroad due to the coronavirus.
This will be the first year in modern times that Muslims from around the world have not been allowed to perform Hajj.
“This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings,” the ministry that oversees pilgrimages said in a statement.
The number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia has exceeded 160,000, with 1,307 deaths, following a rise in new infections over the past two weeks.
Saudi Arabia earns around $12 billion a year from the haj and the lesser, year-round pilgrimage known as umrah.