Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has ruled that only people who have been vaccinated will be allowed to attend the Hajj this year, Saudi newspaper Okaz reported.
“The Covid-19 vaccine is mandatory for those willing to come to the Hajj and will be one of the main conditions (for receiving a permit to come),” the report said, citing a circular signed by the health minister.
The Saudi minister Al-Rabiah ordered the formation of a COVID-19 vaccination committee for Hajj pilgrims, stressing that only those vaccinated against the coronavirus will be allowed to participate in the 2021 Islamic pilgrimage season.
Tawfig Al-Rabiah also called for early preparation to secure the manpower required to operate health facilities in Makkah, Madinah and the ports of entry for pilgrims for the Hajj season.
Al-Rabiah did not specify the number of pilgrims that Saudi Arabia will receive this year, nor did he mention whether the number will be limited as it was in the 2020 Hajj season.
Saudi Arabia has put together an unprecedented plan to conduct the 2021 Hajj season, which involves both the formation of regiments in secure distances and the intensification of sterilization and disinfection operations.
Saudi authorities prepared for the start of the procedures by administering coronavirus tests to pilgrims before placing them in a ten-day quarantine.
Taking into account the pandemic, the Hajj season in 2020 was exceptional; the number of pilgrims was limited to around 10,000 from Saudi Arabia alone, compared to around 700,00 locals in 2019.
Saudis and expats in the Kingdom continue to receive their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 885,411 people having been inoculated.