The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia banned foreign travellers from the annual Hajj pilgrimage in 2021 owing to Covid-19 pandemic
Saudi Arabia said it will restrict the annual Hajj pilgrimage to a relatively smaller gathering of 60,000 of its own vaccinated citizens owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) made the announcement on its state-run Saudi Press Agency which cited the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for making the decision.
Only those aged between 18 and 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunised from virus and are free from chronic diseases will be allowed, said the ministry which manages the annual mega religious event.
KSA health minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah in a televised address said the decision was taken to guarantee the safety of Hajj pilgrims due to the coronavirus.
“Despite the availability of vaccines. There is uncertainty over the virus as some countries continue to witness record high cases of Covid-19. Another challenge is different variants of the virus,” said al-Rabiah.
The minister added that only approved Covid vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Modern and Johnson & Johnson will be valid for Hajj.
According to new agency Reuters, a plan was in place since May to bar foreign pilgrims from the Muslim holy site which every able-bodied member of the faith is required to undertake if they can afford it.
Some 2.5 million Muslims used to visit the holiest site of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long affair.