Hajj to be suspended this year? Covid-19 cases increase rapidly in KSA
Riyadh: The decision to suspend the Haj this year could come at any time due to the growing cases of the coronavirus. Covid-19 cases are growing rapidly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), with 3,921 cases reported in 24 hours. The worst affected areas are Riyadh, Jeddah, and Mecca.
Gulf News reports on the possibilities and fears of the British broadcaster Financial Times said that Saudi officials are considering to suspend the Hajj this year due to the coronavirus.
One of the proposals under consideration is to reduce the number of pilgrims by 5% or make arrangements for Hajj only at the level of limited foreign delegations. An official from the Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah was quoted as saying that one suggestion was that only Saudi nationals be allowed to perform Haj this year. Haj can also be cancelled if these possibilities are not realized. The final announcement is expected to be made by June 5.
According to Gulf News, if this happens then it will be the first time since the independence of Saudi Arabia in 1932 that the annual Hajj will not be performed. Worldwide travel restrictions due to the coronavirus are still largely in place.
While many countries have decided not to send pilgrims on Haj, Muslims are curious as to whether the Haj will be conducted this year. The Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs is quoted as saying that any decision is expected by June 15. Saudi Arabia will consult with Muslim countries before taking the final step.