Riyadh: The kingdom of Saudi Arabia will only allow people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the Hajj this year, the country’s health ministry said on Tuesday.
Saudi health minister Dr. Tawfiq al-Rabiah announced ‘mandatory vaccination’ for the pilgrims planning to attend the five-day program in July.
Rabia did not confirm the number of pilgrims that the Kingdom will receive this year, and whether the number will be limited internally, such as 2020, or will it witness wider participation.
“You must prepare early to secure the manpower required to operate the health facilities in Makkah, the holy sites and Madinah and the entry points for pilgrims for the 2021 Hajj season,” he said in an official circular.
“A vaccination committee must be formed for the Hajj and Umrah season, on which they have adopted the compulsory reception of the COVID-19 vaccine for participating healthcare workers,” he added.
Health ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told in a press conference on Tuesday that there was no need for quarantine after vaccinations and contacting anyone who had been vaccinated.
Saudi Arabia reported 302 new virus cases on Tuesday. There are 2,571 active cases, 508 of which are in critical condition.
What is Hajj?
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.
Millions of pilgrims come across the world. 2020 witnessed an exceptional season for Hajj, and in consideration of the “COVID-19” pandemic. The number of pilgrims at that time was limited to about 10 thousand from inside Saudi Arabia only, compared to about 2.5 million pilgrims in 2019 from all parts of the world.