Saudi Arabia: Haj 2022’s largest percentage to be for foreign pilgrims

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj and Umrah said that the largest percentage and share of Hajj for this year, 1443 AH-2022 AD, will be for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom, local media reported.

The spokesperson for Haj and Umrah Services, Hisham Saeed, said in an interview with Al-Arabiya channel on Saturday, that this comes as a consideration of their inability to perform the obligatory prayer during the past two years, due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hisham further said that no country will be excluded from performing the Haj and that the Kingdom, as usual, welcomes all Muslims who wish to perform the rituals from countries all around the world.

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He pointed out that the distribution of quotas and numbers of pilgrims between countries is carried out according to the principle of proportionality, with a ratio of one to one thousand of the population.

On Saturday, April 9, the Ministry of Haj announced that it had decided to raise the number of pilgrims this year to one million pilgrims from inside and outside the Kingdom, after almost completely lifting the restrictions that were imposed during the past two years.

The ministry stated in a statement, that this number will be divided according to the quotas allocated to each country while adhering to the established health controls.

The decision comes in the interest of the Saudi authorities to allow Muslims from all over the world to perform the obligatory prayer while preserving the health gains achieved in the face of the pandemic.

Haj will be available this year for those under 65 years of age, provided that they obtain the basic doses of vaccines approved in the Kingdom. 

The pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom are required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result performed within 72 hours of departure to the Kingdom.

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah stressed the need for pilgrims to adhere to precautionary measures, and to follow preventive instructions during the performance of their rituals, for their health and safety.

This is the first year in which the authorities have allowed the entry of pilgrims from outside the Kingdom, since 2019. In 2021 the capacity was limited to 60,000 citizens and residents who received the vaccine, due to the measures that were imposed to curb the pandemic.

This step comes after the lifting of most of the restrictions that were imposed during the pandemic and the return of life in the Kingdom to what it was before 2020.

In March 2022, the Presidency of the Affairs of the two holy Mosques launched an operational plan for the holy month of Ramzan, as it restored Taraweeh prayers and breakfast tables for the first time in two years.

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