Covid-19 vaccination has been made mandatory by Saudi Arabia for intending Hajj pilgrims from all over the world, including India.
The Saudi Arabia Health Minister, Dr Tawfig bin Fawzan Al Rabiah made this known through a circular.
Al Rabiah also said that the government must be prepared to “secure the manpower required to operate the health facilities in Mecca and Medina”.
As per the new rule, Saudi Arabia will only allow those who have taken the Covid-19 vaccine for the Hajj pilgrimage.
It has been gathered that this year’s Hajj will be held in the month of July. But Saudi Arabia has not yet decided the number of pilgrims to be allowed for the Hajj pilgrimage in view of Covid-19.
The Umrah pilgrimage, which was postponed in March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resumed on October 4, 2020.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah estimates that 19 lakh people have performed Umrah as of January this year.
About 20 lakh pilgrims from different countries used to visit Saudi Arabia every year to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, before the pandemic.
Hajj is performed every year during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Hijra calendar.
Just month, Saudi Arabia suspended flights from 20 countries, including India and the United States, in a bid to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Apart from India and US, the temporary suspension of flights applies to Pakistan, Brazil, Japan and several other nations. The list of nations also includes Britain, Italy, Portugal, France, Sweden, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland.