Saudi Arabia will remove COVID-19 restrictions for the 2023 Haj season and host pre-pandemic numbers of pilgrims, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah
In 2019, the last year before the pandemic struck, some 2.6 million people performed the Hajj. The Kingdom allowed only limited numbers from its residents in 2020 and 2021 before it welcomed back one million foreign pilgrims in 2022.
The Ministry of Hajj said in a Tweet that the Kingdom will impose no restrictions, including age limits, for this season. Access was restricted in 2022 to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunised against the coronavirus and did not suffer from chronic diseases.
Hajj season is expected to begin on June 26 in 2023 and it is a thing of joy to know that Saudi will impose no restrictions like it did in the previous few years due to the Covid19 outbreak of 2019. This policy will enable fitted and intending pilgrims with the means to enjoy this once in a life time opportunity to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam.
An economic reform plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to increase Umrah and Hajj capacity to 30 million pilgrims annually and to generate 50 billion riyals ($13.32 billion) of revenues by 2030. About 19 million also took part annually in the Umrah, another form of pilgrimage to Mecca which – unlike the Hajj – can be carried out at any time of the year, before the pandemic.
EDITED BY: ZAINAB.Y. HAMZA