Due to rising concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, the Saudi government has decided to go ahead with Hajj 2020 plans but without pilgrims from outside the country.
This would be for the first time in the history of the kingdom that it will break the tradition of welcoming convoys from other Muslim countries for the holy pilgrimage.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah decided this after a detailed deliberation with the Ministry of Health and other concerned departments, a statement issued late on Monday said.
The statement available on the Saudi Ministry of Interior’s Twitter said that the Hajj plan will go on but only with very limited people.
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) June 22, 2020
It said that citizens from other countries already in the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Hajj this year to represent the outside world.
As COVID-19 cases continue to grow globally while the risks of Coronavirus spread in crowded spaces and to countries still exist, Hajj 1441H is decided to take place this year with a limited number of pilgrims from all nationalities residing in Saudi Arabia only, who are willing to perform Hajj.
The decision was taken to ensure that the Hajj is safely performed while ensuring implementation on all preventive measures to protect Muslims and adhere strictly to the teachings of Islam in preserving our health and safety.
It confirms that this decision is in consideration of its constant care of maintaining the safety of pilgrims on its land until departing back to their home countries. We ask Allah the Almighty to protect all countries from this pandemic and keep all humans protected and safe.
This will be a welcoming decision for Muslims in KSA who were fearing that the Hajj 2020 might get canceled due to the increasing number of cases in the kingdom.
In March this year, the kingdom had hinted at postponing pilgrimage for non-native Hajjis to prevent local transmission of the virus.
The Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister, Mohammed Saleh Benten, had asked Muslims to postpone their Hajj plans until there is more clarity about the coronavirus pandemic.