For the second year in a row, Saudi Arabia has barred foreign pilgrims from the haj citing the continuing spread of COVID-19 and its new mutations.
State news agency SPA reported on Saturday (June 12) that this year's haj will once again be limited to pilgrims who are resident in the Kingdom.
The ministry of haj and umrah announced that 60,000 pilgrims will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage this year. Only around 1,000 were allowed last year.
The ministry will announce how people can apply to perform the haj, using electronic means, said SPA.
Pilgrims will be limited to people aged 18 to 65 who are free from chronic illness, said the ministry. They must be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The haj starts on Dhul hijjah 8 that corresponds to around July 18.
In 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 outbreak, 2.49 million pilgrims performed the haj, 1.86 million of whom came from outside Saudi Arabia.
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