Saudi Arabia introduced Saturday this yr’s hajj pilgrimage will be limited to not more than 60,000 folks, all of them from inside the kingdom, due to the continued coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement by the dominion comes after it ran an extremely pared-down pilgrimage final yr over the virus, however nonetheless allowed a small variety of the devoted to participate within the annual ceremony.
An announcement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted the dominion’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry making the announcement. It stated this yr’s hajj, which can start in mid-July, will be limited to these ages 18 to 65. Those participating should be vaccinated as properly, the ministry stated.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is honored to host pilgrims yearly, confirms that this association comes out of its fixed concern for the well being, security and safety of pilgrims in addition to the security of their nations,” the assertion stated.
In final yr’s hajj, as few as 1,000 folks already residing in Saudi Arabia have been chosen to participate within the hajj. Two-thirds have been overseas residents from among the many 160 completely different nationalities that might have usually been represented on the hajj. One-third have been Saudi safety personnel and medical workers.
Each yr, up to 2 million Muslims carry out the hajj, a bodily demanding and sometimes expensive pilgrimage that pulls the devoted from all over the world. The hajj, required of all able-bodied Muslims to carry out as soon as of their lifetime, is seen as an opportunity to wipe clear previous sins and convey about better humility and unity amongst Muslims.
The kingdom’s Al Saud ruling household stakes its legitimacy on this oil-rich nation on overseeing and defending the hajj websites. Ensuring the hajj occurs has been a precedence for them.
Disease outbreaks have all the time been a priority surrounding the hajj. Pilgrims fought off a malaria outbreak in 632, cholera in 1821 killed an estimated 20,000, and one other cholera outbreak in 1865 killed 15,000 earlier than spreading worldwide.
More not too long ago, Saudi Arabia confronted hazard from a distinct coronavirus, one which causes the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. The kingdom elevated its public well being measures throughout the hajj in 2012 and 2013, urging the sick and the aged not to participate.
In current years, Saudi officers additionally instituted bans on pilgrims coming from nations affected by the Ebola virus.
Saudi Arabia had closed its borders for months to try to cease the unfold of the coronavirus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the dominion has reported over 462,000 instances of the virus with 7,500 deaths. It has administered some 15.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, in accordance to the World Health Organization. The kingdom is house to over 30 million folks.
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