Saudi Arabia has completed the selection of 60,000 locally-resident pilgrims for this year’s haj, state news agency SPA reported on Thursday (July 8).
For the second year in a row, Saudi authorities have barred foreign pilgrims from the haj citing the continuing spread of COVID-19 and its new mutations. Last year, only 1,000 locally-resident pilgrims were allowed.
The ministry received 558,270 applications for this year’s haj, reported SPA citing the deputy minister of haj and umrah Dr. Abdul-Fattah Suleiman Mashat.
Pilgrims for this year’s haj must be between 18 to 65 who are free from chronic illness, and they must be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The selected 60,000 pilgrims represent 150 countries, reported the state news agency.
The haj starts on Dhul hijjah 8 that corresponds to around July 18.
In 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 outbreak, 2.49 million pilgrims performed the haj, 1.86 million of whom came from outside Saudi Arabia.
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