Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has said it is essential to have a coronavirus vaccine to participate in this year’s Hajj.
Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has said that only people vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to attend the Hajj this year, Saudi newspaper Okaz reported.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory for those who wish to come to the Hajj and will be one of the main conditions (to receive a permit to come),” Monday’s report said, citing a circular signed by the Minister of Health .
Saudi Arabia prides itself on its guardianship of the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina and its harmonious organization of the annual Hajj, which has been marred in the past by deadly scuffles, fires and attacks. riots.
In 2020, the kingdom significantly reduced the number of pilgrims allowed to attend the Hajj to around 1,000 Saudi citizens and residents of the kingdom, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after excluding Muslims abroad from the rite for the first time in the modern world. times.
The Hajj, a unique duty for any able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, is a major source of income for the Saudi government.
The congregation of millions of pilgrims around the world can be a major cause of coronavirus transmission. In the past, devotees have returned home with respiratory and other illnesses.
In the same circular, Saudi Minister of Health, Dr Tawfiq al-Rabiah, said the government must be prepared to “secure the manpower needed to operate the health facilities in Mecca and Medina. “.
These facilities will be set up at pilgrim entry points, he said, in addition to the formation of a vaccination committee for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.