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SAUDIA ARABIA considers limiting HAJJ pilgrims amid COVID-19 fears

SAUDIA ARABIA considers limiting HAJJ pilgrims amid COVID-19 fears
SAUDIA ARABIA considers limiting HAJJ pilgrims amid COVID-19 fears

The Saudi government has begun considering a proposal to drastically reduce the number of pilgrims to the Hajj this year after more than 100,000 cases of the coronavirus were reported in the country.

According to Reuters, the Hajj will begin at the end of July this year, but the Saudi government is considering reducing the number of pilgrims.

Sources close to the Hajj issue said that the authorities were considering allowing only symbolic numbers to perform the Hajj this year, while the elders would be banned and their health would be tightened.

According to the report, some officials have suggested that the Hajj be canceled, while some constituencies have suggested that all countries be allowed 20 percent of the normal quota.

No Saudi Hajj spokesman or state media has commented, but a proposal to allow a 20% quota with strict restrictions is under consideration.

Restricting the Hajj threatens Saudi Arabia's economy, while the Coronavirus is already plaguing the Saudi economy.

It may be recalled that Saudi Arabia had banned foreign flights in March and imposed a curfew in the country which was later relaxed, but last week the curfew was imposed again in Jeddah.

SAUDIA ARABIA considers limiting HAJJ pilgrims amid COVID-19 fears
SAUDIA ARABIA considers limiting HAJJ pilgrims amid COVID-19 fears

More than 2.5 million Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia each year for the Hajj, bringing an estimated 12 Arab billion to the local economy.

It should be noted that Saudi Arabia had requested Muslims to delay preparations for Hajj due to the coronavirus.

Indonesia announced on June 2 that it would not send its citizens for the Hajj this year after receiving no response from Saudi Arabia.

Indonesia's minister of religious affairs said the decision was made because of the coronavirus.

Religious Affairs Minister Fachuri Razi said that "Saudi Arabia has not yet responded to any country regarding the Hajj."

"Now that the government has decided to cancel the Hajj pilgrimage in 2020, it was very difficult for us to make that decision and we know that many citizens will be heartbroken," he said.

Earlier, the Indonesian government said it would cancel its program if Saudi Arabia did not make a final decision by May 20.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country, with at least 231,000 citizens registering for the Hajj, the largest representation of any country.

The Saudi government in March asked other countries, including Pakistan, not to sign this year's Hajj agreement.

A letter from Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh bin Tahir Bintan to Minister of Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri stated that Steps have been taken as per the recommendations of the agencies affiliated to

He had said that security measures were being strengthened to provide maximum protection to the visitors to Masjid-e-Haram and Masjid-e-Nabawi.

The letter requested the Minister of Religious Affairs to instruct his Office of Pilgrims Affairs on the basis that it should not conclude new treaties in the year 1441 AH until the direction of the coronavirus is determined.

The Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah said: "I want to assure you that the Saudi government is constantly monitoring the spread of this virus and its consequences and new developments and is also reviewing the precautionary measures. The latest developments will also be announced.

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