Saudi Arabia to host one million hajj pilgrims this year

In this Aug. 13, 2019, file photo taken with a slow shutter speed, Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

Saudi authorities have decided to allow one million pilgrims to perform this year’s hajj.

The number of hajj pilgrims were severely reduced in the last two years as a measure against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Saudi Hajj and Umrah Ministry, in a statement on Saturday, announced that one million pilgrims, both local and foreign, will be allowed to perform the hajj this year.

Saudi Arabia said that in order to preserve its success in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, pilgrims will need to be under the age of 65 and must have had COVID-19 vaccinations approved by the Saudi Health Ministry.

Pilgrims from foreign countries are also required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a test performed within 72 hours of the time of departure to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi authorities have advised pilgrims to follow health instructions and comply with all precautionary measures to preserve their health and safety while performing the hajj.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the hajj pilgrimage had attracted over two million pilgrims from across the world each year.

The number of pilgrims was limited in light of the pandemic.

Just 58,745 pilgrims performed the hajj last year.