Saudi Arabia limits Hajj pilgrims to 1,000

Saudi Arabia limits Hajj pilgrims to 1,000
Hajj pilgrim numbers could be limited to less or more than 1,000 to protect public health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities in Saudi Arabia have said. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 26 June 2020

Saudi Arabia limits Hajj pilgrims to 1,000

Saudi Arabia limits Hajj pilgrims to 1,000
  • Compulsory isolation before and after the pilgrimage will also be enforced
  • Medical cadres will also accompany pilgrims throughout their journey

JEDDAH: Hajj pilgrim numbers could be limited to less or more than 1,000 to protect public health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Saudi authorities.

Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah told a press conference on Tuesday that compulsory isolation before and after the pilgrimage will also be enforced.

He said Saudi Arabia is capable of ensuring pilgrims’ safety this year.

“The health ministry has accumulated experience in the service of pilgrims, and thus has enough human and technical capacities to serve pilgrims and preserve their health,” he said.

He added that an integrated hospital at holy sites will be provided, along with a health center in Arafat in case of emergencies during Hajj.

Medical cadres will also accompany pilgrims throughout their journey.

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READ MORE: Saudi Arabia announces Hajj with limited pilgrims from nationalities residing inside Kingdom

Arab countries welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision on Hajj 2020

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Al-Rabiah said limiting the number of pilgrims this year is important.

“Only people residing in the Kingdom, who are under 65 years of age and who do not have chronic diseases will be allowed to perform Hajj this year. They will get tested before arriving to the holy sites and will be subject to self-isolation after performing Hajj,” he said.

He added that those serving pilgrims during Hajj will also be tested.

Meanwhile, many East Asian countries decided to cancel their delegations to this year’s Hajj before the Saudi decision to limit pilgrim numbers.

Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Bentin said: “We appreciate this decision as it aims to protect people above everything else, which was also the priority of the Kingdom since the start of the pandemic, where it canceled Umrah and has now decided to limit the number of Hajj pilgrims to people already residing in Saudi Arabia.” 

He added that the decision to limit numbers to less or more than 1,000 “was taken based on the Kingdom’s principles and past experience in managing Hajj. The main aim is preserving the health and safety of pilgrims in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a delicate process and we are working with experts at the health ministry, the interior ministry and other authorities to ensure a safe Hajj,” Bentin said.

He added that the Hajj ministry will cooperate with diplomatic missions in the Kingdom to determine the number of eligible non-Saudi residents.

Media coverage of this year’s Hajj will be in line with adopted health measures, he said.

Bentin said the Kingdom’s decision to limit Hajj pilgrims is based on the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic and the risks of it spreading in crowded spaces and large gatherings. It also comes amid a push to protect global health security.

“We have been working alongside the health ministry to determine precautionary measures and protocols that need to be followed. Preserving human lives is our priority, therefore, special plans have been set in place for this year’s Hajj, including the self-isolation of pilgrims both before and after performing Hajj,” he said.

He added that there will be no exceptions made for pilgrims arriving from abroad.

“We are aware of the dangers of this virus. Countries around the world have closed their borders. Therefore, no exceptions will be made,” he said.


Saudi Volunteer Day strengthens the values of citizenship and giving

The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal is to have 1 million male and female volunteers by the end of the decade. (SPA)
Updated 10 min 40 sec ago

Saudi Volunteer Day strengthens the values of citizenship and giving

Saudi Volunteer Day strengthens the values of citizenship and giving
  • Saudi Volunteer Day is part of the ministry’s initiatives related to volunteer work, including launching the Voluntary Work Platform on March 31

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia celebrated International Volunteer Day on Saturday by launching Saudi Volunteer Day to strengthen the values of volunteer work included in the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal to have 1 million male and female volunteers by the end of the decade.
The event, titled “Ataa Watan” (A Country’s Giving) is supported by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, and covers all 13 regions of the Kingdom, to spread awareness about the positive impact of volunteer work on the individual and society.
Starting from this year, to be held for three consecutive years, the ministry aims to boost volunteer work, with the event accompanied by a guidebook.
Saudi Volunteer Day is part of the ministry’s initiatives related to volunteer work, including launching the Voluntary Work Platform on March 31. The ministry launched a number of new initiatives as part of Saudi Volunteer Day 2020, including the Health Awareness Initiative, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, targeting the whole of Saudi society.

FASTFACT

International Volunteer Day is an international event launched in 1985 by the UN and held on Dec. 5 of every year, to appreciate and thank volunteers all over the world for their work and efforts, and to strengthen the culture of volunteering.

It also launched the Restoring and Rehabilitating Residences and Buildings Initiative, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing, with the aim of repairing, restoring and refurbishing the houses of families in need and those belonging to people with low incomes, as well as carrying out restoration and decoration work at sites in public places, including schools and mosques.
The ministry also launched the Afforestation Initiative, which aims to boost the efforts of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia to fight desertification and plant 12 million trees by 2020 in various regions of the Kingdom. This initiative is organized in collaboration with various agricultural societies, plant nurseries, farms, Scout groups, volunteer teams in universities and education administrations, and volunteering societies.
International Volunteer Day is an international event launched in 1985 by the UN and held on Dec. 5 of every year, to appreciate and thank volunteers all over the world for their work and efforts, and to strengthen the culture of volunteering.