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JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has decided to allow pilgrims from outside the country including Pakistan to perform Hajj this year.
According to a Saudi newspaper, the Hajj season will include pilgrims from abroad, but according to strict precautionary steps and preventive measures to protect the people from COVID-19.
This was also confirmed by Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Maulana Tahir Ashrafi who said Saudi Arabia has allowed Hajj for 60,000 people from across the world including Pakistan.
He said the Saudi government would later inform Pakistan about the number of pilgrims that will be allowed to perform the ritual from the country.
Ashrafi said people under the age of 18 and over 60 will not be able to go for Hajj, while the pilgrims would have to quarantine in Saudi Arabia for three days. Vaccination is a must for all pilgrims.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has approached the Saudi government following the Saudi government’s condition that all Hajj pilgrims must have obtained coronavirus vaccinations.
The government has approached Saudi authorities to allow people inoculated with Chinese vaccines to enter after the Kingdom had said it would not permit travelers who have been administered vaccines from China.
Earlier this month, the kingdom said it intends to organize this year’s Haj, which is due in July, in line with health, security and organisation controls to protect pilgrims’ health amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Ministry of the Hajj and Umrah said related regulations and executive plans will be announced later. The ministry’s Undersecretary Hesham Saeed previously said that Saudi Arabia is considering all options for this year’s Hajj including the possibility of allowing a “symbolic” number of pilgrims from abroad.
Last year’s Hajj was performed by a limited number of Saudis and foreign Muslims residing in Saudi Arabia to contain the spread of COVID-19.