DUBAI: Saudi Arabia welcomed on Saturday the first batch of foreign Hajj pilgrims after two years of tight COVID restrictions.
The pilgrims, who arrived in Madinah from Indonesia, were presented flowers, dates and Zamzam water bottles upon arrival, state news agency SPA reported.
Saudi authorities previously implemented tight restrictions on the religious ritual to ensure the health and safety of all worshippers against the highly transmissible coronavirus.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah earlier said that registration is now open for local pilgrims, citizens and residents wishing to perform Hajj this year. Applicants must be no older than 65 and must have a valid residency permit.
This year’s “Hajj season will accommodate 1 million pilgrims to ensure people’s safety amid the pandemic, ensure the quality of the services provided, and everybody’s safe return to their home countries,” Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said earlier.