COVID-19: Hajj 2020 to be held with limited number of pilgrims

COVID-19: Hajj 2020 to be held with limited number of pilgrims

The Saudi authorities have decided to allow a limited number of citizens and residents who are already in the Kingdom to perform this year’s Hajj.

Only Saudis and expatriate residents of various nationalities are allowed to perform Hajj rituals this year, as a precautionary measure to avoid crowds and stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was taken due to the ongoing threat from the coronavirus pandemic and to preserve “global public health,” the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said.

The statement said:

“In light that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to more than 180 countries around the world, and that deaths related to COVID-19 have reached almost half a million and over 7 million cases have been confirmed globally,

and in accordance with what has been stressed by the Saudi Ministry of Health regarding the continued risks stemming from this pandemic and the lack of available vaccinations and a cure for those who have been infected by COVID-19 around the world, and to preserve the security of global public health especially in light of the increase in the number of cases in most countries according to reports issued by global health organizations and institutions, and considering the risks of the disease and infections spreading in crowded gatherings where it is difficult to maintain safe social distancing among the individuals gathered,

the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose top priority is to always enable Muslim pilgrims to perform Hajj and Umrah rites safely and securely and which has been keen since the beginning of the pandemic to take all necessary 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, a decision that has received many approbations from Islamic and international organizations in recognition of its wide contribution to fighting the virus globally and supporting the efforts of health organizations in limiting the spread of the deadly disease,

and in light of the continuation of the pandemic and the risks of Coronavirus spreading in crowded spaces and large gatherings, and its transmission between countries, and the increase in average infections globally, it has been decided that Hajj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia, would be able to perform it. This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings.

The government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is honored to serve millions of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims annually and it confirms that this decision stems from the top priority it accords maintaining 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.”

About 2.5 million pilgrims performed Hajj last year but the ongoing scale and spread of COVID-19 worldwide means people will not be able to travel to the Kingdom to take part. 

The Council of Senior Scholars said on Monday it supported what the Kingdom’s decision to limit the number of pilgrims in order to preserve their health and safety.