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COVID-19 impact | All Hajj applications from India cancelled as Saudi bars international pilgrims

Before the pandemic, as many as two lakh pilgrims used to visit Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina lasting about 40 days from India. As many as 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit the holiest sites of Islam from across the world.

June 15, 2021 / 04:58 PM IST
(Image: AP)

(Image: AP)

There will be no Hajj pilgrimage from India for the second consecutive year due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Hajj Committee of India said on June 15.

The Hajj Committee of India announced the cancellation of all the applications for Hajj-2021 after the Saudi Arabia government decided to cancel the International Hajj for the second straight year in 2021 in wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, as many as two lakh pilgrims used to visit Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina lasting about 40 days from India. As many as 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit the holiest sites of Islam from across the world.

A circular issued by Chief Executive Officer Hajj Committee Maqsood Ahmed Khan on June 15 read that the Ministry of Haj & Umrah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia issued a statement informing that due to Corona pandemic conditions the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to allow only residents of Saudi Arabia to attend Hajj this year and the international Hajj has been cancelled.

“Hence it has been decided by the Haj Committee of India that all the applications for Haj-2021 stands cancelled,” the circular read.

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In last year's pilgrimage, not more than 1,000 people residing in Saudi Arabia were selected to take part in the Hajj. This year the Saudi Arabia administration has limited the number of pilgrimage to 60,000- all residents of Saudi Arabia who have been administered two or one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Two-thirds were foreign residents from among the 160 different nationalities that would have normally been represented at the pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia on June 14 recorded 1,109 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections to 4,66,906. A total of 10,075 cases remained active, of which 1,596 patients were in critical condition.

With 18 more virus-related fatalities, the death toll has crossed to 7,590.
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