Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it would limit the annual Muslim pilgrimage to people already residing inside the kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is the second year in a row that the Hajj – an obligation for Muslims around the world – has been restricted in this way.
No fewer than 60,000 Saudis and Muslims residents in the monarchy will be allowed to perform the Hajj rituals, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported, citing the Ministry of Hajj.
The pilgrims must be in the age groups ranging from 18 to 65 years, according to the ministry.
They must also be free of chronic diseases and have got vaccinated against COVID-19, it added.
This year’s Hajj pilgrimage is due to start next month. Every year, millions of Muslims usually perform the Hajj, a key Islamic pillar.
However, due to the coronavirus, the kingdom last year only allowed a limited number of Saudis and foreign Muslims already residing in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.
One of the five pillars of Islam, the Hajj is a mandatory duty for all Muslims to complete once in a lifetime, if they have the financial and physical means to do so.
During the Hajj, pilgrims perform the same rituals in a demonstration of religious unity, equality, and pursuit of spiritual renewal.