The deadline for non-Saudi Arabian pilgrims who want to perform the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj this year passed on Friday, meaning that pilgrims can no longer sign up to perform Hajj under the limited capacity imposed by Saudi Arabian authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Authorities have limited the number of pilgrims on this year’s Hajj to 10,000 in line with safety concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The pilgrimage is set to take place between Tuesday, July 28, and Sunday, August 2, and is followed by the Islamic holy festival of Eid al-Adha.
Thirty percent of the pilgrims will be Saudi Arabian nationals, with the remaining 70 percent of places reserved for expatriates.
Expatriates who wanted to visit the Kingdom for Hajj were required to register between Monday, July 6, and Friday, July 10. Applicants must produce a PCR test showing they do not have coronavirus.
They also must not have previously performed Hajj, which Muslims are required to perform once in their life, and must be aged between 20 and 50. Applicants are also required to pledge to adhere to the quarantine regulations.
The Saudi Arabian pilgrims will be only health practitioners and security members who have recovered from COVID-19 selected from a database of recovered patients in recognition of their role in fighting the virus, according to the Saudi Gazette.
This year’s Hajj will be far smaller than usual, when over 2 million Muslims from across the world travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage.