Saudi Arabia likely to allow 60,000 people for Hajj 2021

Saudi health ministry stated that they are allowing overseas Hajj pilgrims for the annual event in July but it will be on a smaller scale compared to the pre-pandemic time.

Riyadh: Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, this would be the first time Saudi Arabia has decided to allow only 60,000 people from all over the world, to perform Hajj this year, the twitter official handle oh @haramaininfo said on Saturday, citing a statement from the Saudi health ministry.

Saudi health ministry stated that they are allowing overseas Hajj pilgrims for the annual event in July but it will be on a smaller scale compared to the pre-pandemic time.

45,000 pilgrims from outside the country will be allocated and 15,000 from inside the Kingdom likely to be allow, the health ministry said.

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https://twitter.com/HaramainInfo/status/1396284577522634756?s=19

Special representative to the Pakistan Prime Minister on religious harmony, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi also confirmed Saudi Arabia’s decision on SAMAA TV.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban on an international flight from May 17, 2021 as the Hajj is scheduled to  take place from 17th July to 22nd July, 2021.

Key points for the Hajj 2021 :

  • Only 60,000 Hujjaj will be scheduled to perform Hajj this year which includes local and foreign pilgrims.
  • Those performing Hajj must be between the age of 18-60 years of Age.
  • Those performing Hajj must be in a good stated of health.
  • Those performing Hajj must not have been in hospital for any illness within the past six months prior to travelling for Hajj. (proof Is required)
  • The pilgrims must have had both doses of the vaccine with a vaccination card provided by the individual countries Health Organisation / Hospital / Ministry. (proof required)
  • The vaccine taken must be on the approved list that is recognised by the ministry of health within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • The pilgrims must quarantine for three days if they are classed as foreign pilgrims as soon as they arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • The first dose of the vaccine must have been taken by the 1st Shawaal 1442. Note: This day has passed and was the day of the Eid Ul Fitr 1442.
  • The second dose of the vaccine must be taken by the 14th day before arriving within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  •  The conditions of social distancing and the wearing of the mask and other precautionary measures will continue to protect pilgrims.

Before a pilgrim arrives in the Hajj areas / locations :

  • They must ensure that all the necessary health documents that are required are completed to verify their health status and conditions.
  • The pilgrim mist hold a certificate / document in relation to the vaccine. In some countries travel certificates are being issued.
  • The pilgrims will also go through visual screening as per the procedures and precautionary measures in relation to COVID-19.
  •  Information will continue to be provided via social media, tour agencies and through sms messages etc for educational purposes.
  • Designated transportation points are being arranged to where groups will gather keeping in line with the precautionary measures.

When a pilgrim arrives at their residence :

  • The pilgrims will undergo thermal screening.
  • The accomodation and hotels pilgrims will stay at must comply with the ministry of tourism, the ministry of Hajj, and other bodies.
  • There will be an implementation of precautionary measures to prevent crowding inside the rooms and hotels.
  • They will therefore provide catering services for every pilgrim in their room without the need to gather in dining halls and prevent open buffets.
  • All international pilgrims must quarantine for three days and will also conduct PCR Swabs at the place of residence.
  • Pilgrims will be educated that if they have symptoms, they are to go consult a doctor directly, in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.
  • The Hajj pilgrims will be dispatched in less batches compared to previous years in order to comply with social distancing. There will be meeting points for groups in all areas in fewer numbers compared to previous years.
  • All baggage for pilgrims must be disinfected & workers will be given the role to ensure this.
  • Security personnel have been assigned to organise the entry & exit of pilgirms according to the time allotted to them.
  • The protocol accommodation facilities must be adhered.

For Arafah :

  • A bus will be specified for each group and a seat number will be assigned to each pilgrim during the entire trip, with follow-up on the implementation of precautionary measures when getting on and off the buses.
  • Pilgrims will not be allowed to stand during the journey.
  • Families will be allowed to sit together.
  • If a pilgrim has COVID-19 the bus will be disinfected and other procedures will follow.
  • The number of passengers will not exceed 50% of the total capacity.
  • In the bus, there will be an empty seat between each passenger.
  • Passengers must carry their luggage.
  • Food should only be prepackaged.
  • Preventing of gatherings and maintain social distancing. 
  • The number of pilgrims will not exceed 50 per 50 square meters of the area of the tents.

Other Notes :

  • Pilgrims will be provided with stones in sterilised bags packed by the organizer.

The pilgrims departure to and from the Jamarat facility must be scheduled so that the number does not exceed 50 pilgrims for each floor of the Jamarat facility.

Notes for Masjid Al Haram :

  • Pilgrims must have a permit to perform the Hajj from the electronic Hajj portal or via an electronic application.
  • Pilgrims must ensure social distancing and prevent over crowding issues.
  • Thermal imaging cameras are in place to measure the temperature at the entrances.
  • In the event of high temperatures or suspicions, the pilgrim will be prevented from entering and referred to the specialists at the Ministry of Health.
  • Carpets at Masjid Al Haram will be removed.
  • Stickers are marked on floors allowing 2 metres Social Distancing between pilgirms.
  • Food will be prevented from being allowed in the Mosque.
  • Educational lessons will continue to be suspended inside the Mosque.
  • Educational material however will be distributed.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting will take place around the clock.

Earlier this week, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that it would allow pilgrims from outside the country to perform Hajj this year.

Last week, Saudi Arabia warned citizens against traveling to 13 countries including India without permission due to security concerns and instability in several countries, while the COVID-19 pandemic continued and new strains of the virus spread to some other countries.

Earlier in March, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia health ministry said that will only allow people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the Hajj this year.

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.

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