Muslim pilgrims put on masks on the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy metropolis of Mecca on February 28, 2020. Saudi Arabia suspended visas for visits to Islam’s holiest websites for the “umrah” pilgrimage, an unprecedented transfer triggered by coronavirus fears that raises questions over the annual hajj.
ABDEL GHANI BASHIR | AFP | One other Billionaire Information
Saudi Arabia is contemplating canceling the annual hajj pilgrimage this yr amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Monetary Occasions reported.
Hajj, which entails touring to the holy metropolis of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is taken into account a compulsory ritual for all Muslims who can afford the journey and bodily full the journey. One of many largest spiritual gatherings on this planet, hajj attracts about 2 million folks to Saudi Arabia every year, in line with the Monetary Occasions.
Nonetheless, following the postponement of different main occasions just like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Saudi officers have confronted strain to cancel hajj to be able to assist curb the unfold of the coronavirus, the report mentioned.
Officers are contemplating completely different situations and a “resolution shall be made inside one week,” a senior official from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah ministry advised the Monetary Occasions.
This yr’s hajj is meant to happen from July 29 to Aug. 4, however Saudi Arabia has but to raise a global journey ban carried out on Could 20. Different nations have already declined to ship pilgrims this yr.
The dominion additionally skilled a spike in coronavirus circumstances and deaths after loosening lockdown measures, the report mentioned. Saudi Arabia has reported greater than 119,000 confirmed circumstances of Covid-19 and 893 deaths, in line with knowledge from Johns Hopkins College.
Nonetheless, the cancellation of hajj might put additional financial strain on a rustic nonetheless reeling from the drop in oil demand introduced upon by the pandemic. These making the pilgrimage have been anticipated to generate $12 billion for the dominion.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. To learn extra concerning the potential cancellation of this yr’s hajj, try the Monetary Occasions’ report.