Pilgrims to Mecca restricted

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Saudi Arabia has restricted the annual haj pilgrimage to Mecca.

It is the second year running this important religious festival has had to be limited as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Only people aged between 18 and 65 who have been vaccinated or immunised against the virus, and are free of chronic diseases, will be able to take part. Only approved Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson will be valid for the haj.

It also set a maximum of 60,000 participants.

“The decision has been made to guarantee the safety of haj amid uncertainty over the coronavirus,” the kingdom’s health minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said in a televised press conference.

Before the pandemic enforced social distancing globally, some 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long haj.

What is Haj?

The Haj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. Haj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime. 

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