Faizel Patel – 12/06/2021
Saudi Arabia has announced that only vaccinated residents of the kingdom will be allowed to perform the annual hajj in 1442/2021.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reports that the Hajj Ministry indicated the Hajj will be limited to only 60,000 nationals and residents of the kingdom.
The annual Hajj which is expected to take place at the end of July will be limited to those who have been vaccinated and are below 65 years of age with no chronic illnesses.
The Hajj Ministry says the decision is based on the Kingdom’s constant keenness to enable the guests and visitors at the Haram in Makkah and Masjid-un-Nabawi in Medina to perform the rituals of Hajj and Umrah while putting pilgrims health and safety first.
“In light of what the whole world is witnessing with the coronavirus pandemic… and the emergence of new variants, the relevant authorities have continued to monitor the global health situation.”
Last year, to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia, only ten thousand people in the Kingdom had been allowed to perform Hajj, seventy percent of them expats and thirty percent Saudi’s who were residing in the kingdom.
Currently South Africans are unable to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah or Hajj.
Authorities suspended entry to Saudi Arabia for travellers from 20 countries including South Africa, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Portugal among other countries
Last year, the foreign press were also barred from the hajj, usually a huge global media event.
Saudi Arabia has so far recorded more than 460,000 coronavirus infections, including 7,536 deaths while the health ministry says it has administered more than 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses.