Kingdom had reduced the number of pilgrims in 2020
Only people who have administered the coronavirus vaccines will be able to perform Hajj this year, the health ministry of Saudi Arabia has announced, according to Al-Jazeera.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory for those willing to come to the Hajj and will be one of the main conditions (for receiving a permit to come),” a notification by the Kingdom read.
It stated that the government should be prepared to “secure the manpower required to operate the health facilities in Makkah and Madinah”.
During the pilgrimage, millions of people across the world come together increasing the chances of major coronavirus transmission.
In 2020, Saudi Arabia scaled back the annual Hajj pilgrimage over fears the coronavirus could spread to Islam’s holiest cities and back to pilgrims’ home countries.
The pilgrimage went ahead in late July, on the smallest scale in modern history. Only up to 10,000 Muslim residents of the country were allowed to take part — a far cry from the 2.5 million who participated the previous year.
Saudi health authorities said no coronavirus cases were reported at the holy sites during Hajj.
Pakistani authorities are in touch with Saudi officials on the matter and have asked to wait for the final decision, he said.
Qadri has assured that if the pilgrimage was linked with coronavirus vaccination, Pakistan was ready for it.
Under normal circumstances, a memorandum of understanding on Hajj is signed with the Saudi government in November. But the Saudi government has not signed any MoU with any country so far, he added.