Riyadh: In order to prevent a further outbreak of coronavirus, Saudi Arabia is likely to drastically limit numbers at the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The cases in the country have topped 100,000.
Usually around 2.5 million pilgrims visit the two holiest sites of Islam, Kaba in Makkah and Masjid-e-Nabawi in Medina for the week-long Hajj.
Earning to Saudi government
Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, is expected to start in late July. Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage earn the kingdom about $12 billion (Dh44 billion) a year.
In must be recalled that in March, Saudi Arabia had asked Muslims to put Hajj plans on hold and suspended Umrah until further notice.
Symbolic numbers to be allowed
As reported by the Khaleej Times, the authorities are now considering allowing “only symbolic numbers” this year. Older pilgrims will be banned and those allowed will undergo additional health checks.
The procedures will be strict and only up to 20 per cent of each country’s regular quota of pilgrims, are likely to be allowed.
Cancellation also likely
Meanwhile, some officials are still pushing for a cancellation of the Hajj.