NEW DELHI: This year also the Muslim people in Assam along with the rest of India will be deprived of hajj pilgrimage as Saudi Arabia announced that this year's pilgrimage will be limited to no more than 60,000 people, all of them from within the kingdom.
A statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted the kingdom's Hajj and Umrah Ministry making the announcement. It said this year's hajj, which will begin in mid-July, will be limited to those ages 18 to 65.
Those taking part must be vaccinated as well, the ministry said.
"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is honored to host pilgrims every year, confirms that this arrangement comes out of its constant concern for the health, safety, and security of pilgrims as well as the safety of their countries," the statement said.
Notably, in last year's hajj, as few as 1,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia were selected to take part in the hajj. Two-thirds were foreign residents from among the 160 different nationalities that would have normally been represented at the hajj. One-third were Saudi security personnel and medical staff.
Before the pandemic, each year, up to 2 million Muslims perform the hajj, a physically demanding and often costly pilgrimage that draws the faithful from around the world.
The kingdom also in yesteryears banned pilgrims coming from countries affected by the Ebola virus.
According to the World Health Organization, the kingdom has reported over 462,000 cases of the virus with 7,500 deaths with around 15.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccines administered.
Earlier, the Kingdom permitted only pilgrims and worshippers who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus or have recovered will be allowed into the Grand Mosque in Mecca, announced Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Permits for Umrah (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) and to visit the Grand Mosque will be granted to those who have received two Covid-19 vaccine jabs; those who have received the first dose at least 14 days before their visit to Medina and Mecca; and those who have had the virus and recovered, Arab News quoted the Ministry.
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