The Hajj season is expected to begin on June 26.
Saudi Arabia will not impose limits on the number of pilgrims for this year’s Hajj, a Saudi minister said on Monday, after three years of restrictions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The number of pilgrims will return to what it was before the pandemic, without any age limit,” Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al Rabiah told reporters in Riyadh.
In 2019, the last year before the pandemic struck, some 2.6 million people performed the Hajj. The kingdom allowed only limited numbers from its residents in 2020 and 2021 before it welcomed back one million foreign pilgrims in 2022.
The ministry of Hajj said in a Tweet that the kingdom will impose no restrictions, including age limits, for this season.
Access was restricted in 2022 to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunised against the coronavirus and did not suffer from chronic diseases. The Hajj season is expected to begin on June 26 in 2023.
In 2019, about 2.5 million people took part in the rituals. For the next two years numbers were drastically curtailed numbers due to the pandemic. In 2022, nearly 900,000 pilgrims, including some 780,000 from abroad, were welcomed to Islam’s holiest cities of Makkah and Medina.
A couple of days ago, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that registration for pilgrims inside the Kingdom was open through the ministry’s website and the “Nusuk application,” for those wishing to perform Hajj for the current year 1444 AH, as part of the Ministry’s continuous efforts to facilitate the application procedures for performing the rituals of Hajj. This was to enhance the quality of services, and enrich the religious and cultural experience of the pilgrims, to achieve the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 programmes.Agencies
Local media reports quoted Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah as saying that participantion in the Hajj season be linked to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, considering it the main condition for participation.
The announcement comes amid uncertainty over the Hajj which is due to take place at the end of July, after authorities this week urged Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage.
The religious rites will begin on Sunday. Only 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi citizens and residents from more than 558,000 applicants have been chosen for the downsized pilgrimage.
The Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai, derailed and fell on the opposite track, with many people still trapped, the reports said.
Sheikh Mohammed added in a tweet on Twitter: "We found its executive director at the service counters, receiving customers, speeding up procedures, and contributing to clearing transactions. The secret shopper assured us that providing the service did not exceed five minutes."
The first lady arrived in Cairo from Amman, where she attended the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein. She is travelling to Morocco on Saturday before heading to Portugal, the final stop of her tour, on Monday.