The authorities of Saudi Arabia are planning to call off this year’s Hajj, initially after the Kingdom’s establishment in 1932, as the coronavirus cases exceed 1 lac, reported by Saudi Ministry’s Senior Official to the British newspaper- Financial Times.
He further added that they carefully examined the situation and other scenarios were in focus as well. Within a week, a final decision would appear.
These are the 8 countries which have canceled Hajj for their citizens due to coronavirus
- South Africa
- Australia and New Zealand
Hajj, which is to be executed this year at the end of July, appears in the largest known religious gatherings of the world by attracting at least 2 million pilgrims reaching the Kingdom to follow the Islamic rituals.
They can also plan to limit the pilgrims from every country this year. Moreover, apart from a main religious ritual, it is a big source of foreign revenue for Saudi Arabia. Reuters stated that the official data reveals the earning of the kingdom from Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages amounting to 12 billion dollars each year.
With the increased cases in the pandemic, Saudia requested the nations to hold their Hajj plans and call off the Umrah pilgrimages.
They further noted that some of the Saudia Officials are trying to call off this year’s Hajj. Moreover, some of them are demanding restrictions to a certain number from each country such as; banning elderly people and extra health examinations.
They stated that with strict measures, the authorities think it would be possible to allow only up to 20% from each nation’s regular portion of pilgrims.
The decision of calling off the Hajj or even limiting it would appear unfavorable in terms of Saudi, as compared to its plans of enhancing their capacity for religious tourism. Furthermore, An economic plan by Prince Mohammad bin Salman emphasizes maximizing the HAjj and Umrah quota making it up to 30 million pilgrims each year and gaining revenue of 13,32 billion dollars by 2020.