DestinationsSaudi Arabia eases Covid curbs and increases quota to one million pilgrims for Hajj 2022.

One million for the Hajj holy grail

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Proof of vaccination and negative Covid-19 tests will be required for those who want to visit Mecca.
Proof of vaccination and negative Covid-19 tests will be required for those who want to visit Mecca. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Zurijeta

Saudi Arabia announced on 9 April that it will be increasing its Hajj pilgrimage capacity this year to one million for both domestic and foreign Muslims.

This year’s pilgrimage, scheduled for end-July, would be open to:
1. Muslims under the age of 65 who have received Covid-19 vaccinations approved by the Saudi Ministry of Health.
2. International pilgrims who test negative on a Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before flying into Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that the country is keen on ensuring that the maximum number of Muslims globally can perform Hajj and visit the holy city of Mecca in a safe and spiritual atmosphere.

According to the ministry, the number of pilgrims from each country will be capped based on quotas and other health considerations. Muslims from abroad were allowed to submit their applications since last August for a smaller pilgrimage that can take place any time of year, known as umrah.

The pandemic had previously forced the country to severely restrict the annual ritual to just 1,000 domestic visitors in 2020, and a limit of 60,000 pilgrims in 2021.

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