Saudi Arabia has said about 10,000 pilgrims will be allowed to observe 2020 hajj exercise as the authorities puts in place strict health protocols and guidelines that must be followed during the period.
These are parts of the country’s measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Conscious of the global pandemic, the authorities declared the spiritual exercise will hold on schedule but with restriction to Saudi residents including nationalities residing in the Kingdom.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Kingdom’s Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq al-Rabiah said that health measures and protocols for Muslims who will be performing the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage will be strictly enforced to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus.
He explained that to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among pilgrims, the health ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Hajj and Umraj have developed preventative and precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
On his part, the Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Benten said not more than 10,000 people will be allowed to perform the 2020 Hajj pilgrimage at a single time.
According to him, ” all pilgrims will be tested before they reach the holy sites and only Muslims under the age of 65 will be allowed to perform the exercise. All pilgrims will be asked to self-quarantine after they complete the Hajj rituals.
“All workers and volunteers will be tested before the Hajj pilgrimage begins. The health status of all pilgrims will be monitored daily just as hospital has been prepared for any emergency that occurs during the pilgrimage. Social distancing measures will be enforced”.
Every year, about 2.5 million Muslims visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina. The Saudi’s decision was considered necessary to avert potential tragedy that the large population might generate.