Saudi Arabia has barred travellers from Nigeria and other countries from performing 2021 Hajj over coronavirus concerns.
This is as Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that it will allow 60,000 vaccinated residents of the kingdom to perform the annual hajj.
The hajj ministry said this year’s pilgrimage would be “open for nationals and residents of the kingdom, limited to 60,000 pilgrims”, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
With this, travellers from Nigeria have been barred from performing hajj for the second time in a row.
Last year, the kingdom also hosted downscaled hajj amid the coronavirus pandemic, preventing thousands of Nigerian pilgrims from participating.
The pilgrimage, scheduled to be held at the end of July, would be limited to those who have been vaccinated and are below 65 years of age with no chronic illnesses, it said.
The hajj – a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime — typically packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites and could be a major source of contagion.
Only up to 10,000 Muslims took part in last year, a far cry from the 2.5 million who participated in the five-day annual pilgrimage in 2019.