The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has stopped issuing prayer permits at the Grand Mosque from Friday in preparation to receive pilgrims. Permits will be issued again from July 24.
The annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah is considered the world’s largest human gathering. Almost 2.5 million pilgrims were present in 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in restricting the number of pilgrims, all from within the Kingdom, to 60,000 this year.
Last year, following the onset of the Covid crisis, just 1,000 pilgrims were allowed.
The Ministry of Health said more than 21 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Saudi Arabia through more than 560 vaccination sites. It has also emphasised the importance of adhering to precautionary measures in family gatherings during the Eid Al Adha holiday.
These include wearing masks, avoiding shaking hands and maintaining a safe distance to limit the spread of the disease and to ensure safety for all.
Saudi Arabia reported 15 more Covid-related deaths on Thursday, taking the total to 8,035. There were 1,165 new cases and 506,125 people have contracted the disease in the country. A total of 11,172 cases are active, with 1,429 being critical.