Limited number of Haj pilgrims this year

Azlan Othman

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said yesterday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only a limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who are already residing in Saudi Arabia are allowed to perform Haj this year.

The decision is taken to ensure Haj is performed in a safe manner while observing all preventive measures and the social distancing protocols to protect pilgrims from the risks associated with COVID-19, and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving lives, a statement from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Brunei Darussalam said.

It was also aimed at preserving global public health due to the lack of a vaccine for the virus or a cure for those infected, as well as the risks associated with large gatherings of people.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s top priority is to always enable Muslim pilgrims to perform Haj and Umrah rites safely and securely and has taken precautionary measures to protect pilgrims, including by suspending the entry of Umrah pilgrims while ensuring the safety of the pilgrims already present at the holy sites.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also continuously contributes to the virus fighting effort and supports the efforts of health organisations in limiting the spread of the deadly disease.

The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is honoured to serve millions of Haj and Umrah pilgrims annually and the decision stems from the top priority it accords to maintain the safety of pilgrims on its land until they depart to their home countries.

“We ask Allah the Almighty to protect all countries from this pandemic and keep all humans protected and safe,” the statement added.

Worshippers performing Subuh prayer at the Kaabah, at the Grand Mosque complex in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Makkah. PHOTO: AFP