70% of pilgrims this year will be non-Saudis

Performing Hajj in pre-COVID-19 times (Sharq Al Awsat)

Performing Hajj in pre-COVID-19 times (Sharq Al Awsat)

RIYADH: 70% of the people who will perform Hajj (pilgrimage) this year will be foreigners living in Saudi Arabia while Saudi citizens will make up the remaining 30%.

Hajj will this year be performed in exceptional circumstances after Saudi Arabia limited the number of people who could perform the ritual following the spread of the coronavirus across the globe and the high number of cases.

In normal times, more than 2.5 million people gathered in and around Makkah in Western Saudi Arabia, to perform Haj for six days.

Saudi Arabia has now announced the criteria for selecting those who will be performing the ritual.

The priority for foreigners will be given for medically-fit non-Saudi residents who had a negative PCR test, aged between 20 and 50 and have not performed Hajj before.

The selected applicants will have to abide by a quarantine period both before and after performing Hajj.

Eligible non-Saudi residents have until July 10 to register on the ministry’s website.

The selection of non-Saudi pilgrims will be carried out electronically and those selected will submit all necessary documents within a predetermined period.

Saudi applicants will be strictly chosen among Saudi healthcare workers and security personnel who had fully recovered from COVID-19.

Their names will be selected from the COVID-19 recovery database, insomuch as they meet established health criteria. This is a token of appreciation for their role in providing care for our society as it fought the pandemic, Saudi Arabia said.

The Saudi government said it was eager for a successful organization of Hajj while upholding the best health standards and observing all precautions in order to ensure the pilgrims’ safety.

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