Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has released the criteria it will follow to select this year’s pilgrims for the hajj that will start around Jul 28.
Saudi authorities announced on Jun 22 that the hajj will go on this year with a limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom continues to keep its borders shut to international visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s pilgrim ratio will comprise 70% non-Saudi residents, with Saudis making up the remaining 30%, reported state news agency SPA on Monday (Jul 6). The report did not say how many pilgrims would be allowed in total.
“Saudi pilgrims will be strictly chosen among Saudi healthcare workers and security personnel who had fully recovered from COVID-19. These pilgrims will be selected from the COVID-19 recovery database, insomuch as they meet established health criteria,” reported SPA.
The selection of pilgrims from only among Saudi healthcare workers and security personnel is a “token of appreciation for their role in providing care” for the society during the pandemic, wrote SPA.
Among non-Saudi residents, the hajj ministry will prioritise those who have a negative COVID-19 test, are first-time pilgrims, and are 20 to 50-years-old. Selected pilgrims will have to go through a quarantine period before and after the hajj, to be decided by the ministry of health.
Non-Saudi residents in the country must apply from Jul 6 to Jul 10 on the website: localhaj.haj.gov.sa to be considered for a place. Medically-fit applicants will be selected electronically, said SPA.
The Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control earlier on Monday released health protocols for this year’s hajj, which includes precautions against touching or kissing the kaaba and hajar al aswad.
Last year, 2,489,406 pilgrims performed the hajj, around 75% of whom came from abroad.
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