Saudi Arabia is considering cancelling the annual Hajj pilgrimage this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hajj, which involves travelling to the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia, is a mandatory ritual for all observant Muslims who can afford the trip and physically complete the journey at least once in their lifetime.
One of the largest religious gatherings in the world, Hajj draws more than two million people to Saudi Arabia each year. However, following the postponement of other major events like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Saudi officials have faced pressure to cancel this year’s Hajj to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Financial Times reported.
Officials are considering different scenarios and a “decision will be made within one week,” a senior official from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah told the newspaper.
The officer stated that the case has been rigorously studied and numerous situations are being thought of. A proper choice might be taken on this regard inside every week.
Reuters quoted two officers as saying that Saudi Arabia may permit a sure variety of pilgrims for the Hajj this year. In addition, measures equivalent to restrictions on the arrival of the aged and growing extra well-being check-ups have additionally been instructed. According to Reuters, officers really feel that it could be doable to permit as much as 20 percent of the common quota of pilgrims from every nation for Hajj pilgrimage.
This year’s Hajj is supposed to take place from July 29 to August 4, but Saudi Arabia has yet to lift an international travel ban implemented on May 20. Some countries have already said they will not send pilgrims this year.
The kingdom experienced a spike in coronavirus cases and deaths after loosening lockdown measures, the report said. Saudi Arabia has reported more than 119,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 893 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
A cancellation of the Hajj could put further economic pressure on a country still reeling from the drop in oil demand brought upon by the pandemic. Those making the pilgrimage were expected to generate $12 billion for the kingdom.
The senior official of Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry and Umrah told the Financial Times that Saudi Arabian officers are contemplating cancelling the Hajj season for the primary time because the Kingdom was based in 1932.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim inhabitants, has banned its residents from booking for Hajj pilgrimage.