The Saudi Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, has said that COVID-19 vaccination will be the main prerequisite for participation in the 2021 Hajj rites in the country.

According to Al-Masry Alyaom, an Egyptian newspaper,  Dr Al-Rabiah gave the directive in a circular on Monday, saying, “You must prepare early to secure the manpower required to operate the health facilities in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, the holy sites, Madinah and the entry points for pilgrims, for the Hajj season for the current year, and to form a Corona vaccination committee for participants in the Hajj and Umrah season, and accordingly, they adopted the compulsory taking of a vaccine Corona is for those wishing to participate, as it is one of the conditions for participating in the Hajj season."

The minister however did not state whether the pilgrims coming from outside Saudi Arabia will be required to take the vaccine in their countries or whether 2021 Hajj will be limited to domestic pilgrims of all nationalities, like what happened last year, when the country only allowed those inside the Kingdom to perform the Hajj.

Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world flock annually to the cities of Mecca and Medina for the week-long ritual but in 2020, no overseas visitors were allowed.

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