Saudi Arabia maintains suspension of umrah and international flights as start of hajj looms
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior has maintained its suspension of umrah and international flights until further notice, reported state news agency SPA on Saturday (June 20).
The announcement came as authorities fully lifted the curfew from Sunday in all regions and cities and re-opened all economic and commercial activities, subject to precautionary measures to limit the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19.
The kingdom’s continued suspension of the umrah, that started at the end of February, and the closure of its borders to international flights intensifies concerns that it will not re-open for hajj this year.
If the hajj is to carry on, it will start around July 28, which is just over a month from today.
Several countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, and Singapore, have already said they will not be sending their pilgrims this year due to COVID-19 concerns. France’s Muslim body has recommended the country’s prospective pilgrims defer this year’s hajj but India has stated it will wait for Saudi Arabia’s decision.
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