Saudi Arabia sets limit of 1m Hajj pilgrims this year

Saudi Arabia says Muslims from inside and outside the country will be able to perform the Hajj providing they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and no older than 65.

Saudi Arabia has said it will allow one million people – from both inside and outside the kingdom – to perform the Hajj this year compared with only a few thousand domestic pilgrims last year.

The kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj said the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, will be for those under 65 and that pilgrims must be fully vaccinated, Saudi state news agency SAP reported early on Saturday.

The ministry added that pilgrims from abroad must also present a negative COVID-19 PCR test and that there will be additional health precautions.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a once-in-a-lifetime duty for all able-bodied Muslims to perform if they can afford it. It is expected to take place in July this year.

Just a few thousand people were allowed to perform the pilgrimage in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the virus emerged, some 2.5 million people would travel every year to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

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