Saudi Arabia lifts restriction on Haj pilgrim numbers, age limit for first time in three years

In 2019, about 2.5 million people took part in the rituals, but numbers were drastically curtailed for the next two years due to the pandemic


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Published: Mon 9 Jan 2023, 9:32 PM

Last updated: Mon 9 Jan 2023, 9:48 PM

Saudi Arabia will not impose limits on the number of pilgrims for this year's Haj, a Saudi minister said Monday, after three years of restrictions to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The number of pilgrims will return to what it was before the pandemic, without any age limit," Minister of Haj and Umrah Tawfiq Al Rabiah told reporters in Riyadh.

The pilgrimage – one of the five pillars of Islam, and which all able-bodied Muslims with the means are required to perform at least once – is scheduled for June.

In 2019, about 2.5 million people took part in the rituals. For the next two years numbers were drastically curtailed due to the pandemic.

In 2022, nearly 900,000 pilgrims, including some 780,000 from abroad, were welcomed to Makkah and Madinah.

At that time, they had to be aged under 65, as well as have a vaccination against Covid-19 and present a negative test.

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