Saudi Arabia receives 1st foreign Hajj pilgrims since COVID began
A group of Hajj pilgrims from Indonesia has landed in the city of Medina from where they will be travelling to the holy city of Mecca, marking the arrival of the first batch of pilgrims from outside the kingdom after two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to state media, News.Az reports citing Al Jazeera.
Saudi Arabia last month announced it would allow one million people – from both inside and outside the kingdom – to perform the Hajj which will take place in July compared with about 60,000 last year and less than 1,000 in 2020.
Usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, about 2.5 million people participated in 2019 – the last Hajj before the coronavirus outbreak.
This year’s pilgrimage will be limited to vaccinated Muslims below 65 years of age, the Hajj Ministry has said.
Those coming from outside Saudi Arabia, who must apply for Hajj visas, are required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours of travel.