Saudi Arabia authorities issued a statement that this year’s Hajj pilgrimage will go on, said CNN.
However, due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the pilgrimage to Mecca will be limited this year.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said the annual religious journey will be “very limited.”
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that it will only be limited numbers of pilgrims of all nationalities who are already residing in the country.
A statement from the ministry said that as coronavirus cases continue to grow globally. Hence, there are also some risks of coronavirus spreading in crowded spaces and from other countries.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s statement said safety is their main concern, which reads:
This decision is taken to ensure Hajj is safely performed while committing to all preventive measures to protect Muslims. And adhere strictly to the teachings of Islam in preserving our health and safety,”according to the statement.
The Saudi Ministry of Health said the risks from coronavirus “are expected to grow further.”
Adding, “there is no vaccine available yet for those infected by the disease. Global health security needs to be preserved.“
The ministry said it would be challenging to maintain a proper distance in crowded areas and prevent the spread of the virus.
More than two million Muslims performed Hajj last year.
Based on Johns Hopkins University tally, Saudi Arabia has more than 160,000 cases and 1,307 deaths.
Other predominantly Muslim countries had already expressed their reservation.
Malayasia and Indonesia already said they will not allow their citizens to go to the pilgrimage this year.
Performing the Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam; it is also one of the biggest religious gatherings in the world.
Hajj occurs two months and 10 days after Ramadan ends, during the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah.