Saudi Arabia has banned international visitors from making the Islamic pilgrimage, or Hajj this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities announced in a statement that the pilgrimage, which is set to begin at the end of July, will be “very limited” in size and restricted to Saudi residents only.
“This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings,” the statement said.
Several countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Senegal, and Singapore have already withdrawn from the pilgrimage due to the ongoing Pandemic.
The hajj is one of Islam’s most important religious activities as well as a major source of revenue for Saudi Arabia. The annual pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca always attract more than two million people every year, with nearly 2.5 million attendance in 2019.