Saudi Arabia has asked Muslims across the globe to wait until there is more clarity about the coronavirus pandemic before planning to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage. This was announced by Mohammed Saleh Benten the Minister for Hajj and Umrah.
“Saudi Arabia is fully ready to serve pilgrims and Umrah seekers. But under the current circumstances, as we are talking about the global pandemic… the kingdom is keen to protect the health of Muslims and citizens and so we have asked our brother Muslims in all countries to wait before doing [Hajj] contracts until the situation is clear. ,” Minister told the state-run Al-Ekhbariya television.
The Hajj is scheduled to begin in late July, but the coronavirus outbreak has raised questions about whether it can or should go ahead given the risk of spreading the disease further in large gatherings.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage. The pilgrimage was stopped over fears coronavirus spreading.
Around 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world usually travel to Mecca and Medina cities for the week-long ritual scheduled to begin in late July.