Saudi Arabia is all set for Hajj 2021. Due to pandemic, several stringent measures are being laid in place to contain the spread of infection during the annual Islamic pilgrimage.
Hajj and Umrah Ministry said that Hajj will go ahead this year with all necessary health and security measures in place. Standard regulations will be in place to safeguard the health and well-being of the pilgrims.
Hajj pilgrimage comes under the jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia. 2 doses of covid vaccine approved by the governance of Saudi Arabia is mandatory for anyone wanting to step foot into the country. Pfizer, Astrazeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson’s are the only vaccines considered valid here. This year they have decided to allow 60,000 pilgrims only. However, they haven’t approved the vaccines manufactured in India and China.
Pakistan has requested the Saudi authorities to add Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac in the approved list as majority of Pakistanis are administered Chinese jabs. Meanwhile, Malaysia has begun vaccination drive for Hajj pilgrims separately.
In Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur media reported that those selected for Haj this year, will be given Pfizer-BioTech and AstraZeneca vaccines as they have been approved by Saudi Arabia.
These are the rules laid by Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage:
1. People under the age of 18 and above 60 years won’t be eligible
2. Pilgrims must have completed both doses of covid vaccine before starting for Hajj and pilgrims of foreign origin should have taken Saudi approved vaccines.
3. A negative PCR test conducted 40 hours before dispatching to the area of pilgrimage in Saudi-approved laboratories is another condition announced by Riyadh.
4. Hajj pilgrimage should be done by following strict health protocols and guidelines.
5. The pilgrim shouldn’t have a history of sickness or hospitalization prior 6 months from the date of travel.
Last year, Saudi Arabia allowed very few pilgrims for Hajj. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime. Only around 10,000 residents of Saudi Arabia were allowed last year. On the contrary, 2.5 million Muslims from around the world had taken Hajj pilgrimage in 2019.