Pilgrims who do not get COVID-19 vaccination will not be allowed to perform Haj this year, says Saudi Arabia.
The country’s health ministry published a ruling saying only people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to attend the haj.
The government says it will consider coronavirus vaccination as “the main condition for participation” in the pilgrimage.
The Ministry did not specify whether the Haj would exclude pilgrims from outside the Kingdom to prevent the contagion.
The Haj traditionally draws some 2 million pilgrims from across the world.
Nevertheless, Saudi officials permitted a very limited number of pilgrims for the haj last year.
Only those already within the country were allowed to perform the Haj amid the surging pandemic.
Okaz, a Saudi newspaper says the vaccination will be “the main conditions (for receiving a permit to come)”.
Last year, only 1000 pilgrims performed the Haj. They were mostly locals and expatriates.
Meanwhile, it was the first time in modern history Saudi Arabia barred Muslims abroad from the rite.
As we know, the Haj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.
However, it is a major source of income for the Saudi government.
COVID IN SAUDI ARABIA
The Ministry of Health recorded on Tuesday 302 new COVID-19 cases on the one year anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s first confirmed COVID-19 case.
The report from Saudi Gazette says there were five more deaths over the past 24 hours (Tuesday) from complications caused by COVID-19.
This brings the total number of confirmed infections in the Kingdom to 378,002 and virus-related fatalities to 6,505.
The Riyadh region continued to record the highest number of infections with 136 cases.
In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia has closed 135 mosques in a move to combat the spread of COVID-19. As of last week, 108 mosques were re-opened following sterilization.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia launched its second phase of the coronavirus vaccination campaign on February 18.
The second phase will see more categories given their first dose of the vaccine. The country is widening the reach of vaccination availability across the Kingdom and increase accessibility with more daily appointments.