No vaccine, no Hajj: Saudi Arabia makes Covid-19 shot mandatory for pilgrims

NEW DELHI: The Saudi Arabia government has decided to make it mandatory for Hajj pilgrims to take anti-coronavirus vaccine. According to Saudi health ministry officials, taking COVID-19 vaccine has been made compulsory for those arriving in the country to perform the Hajj this year. People who don’t comply to the rule will not be allowed to perform Hajj.

“The Covid-19 vaccine is mandatory for those willing to come to the Hajj and will be one of the main conditions (for receiving a permit to come),” stated the Saudi newspaper Okaz report.

The decision is believed to be taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective.

Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. Saudi had in 2020 annulled the annual pilgrimage due to the pandemic. Later it allowed a limited number of pilgrims to perform the Hajj.

Lakhs of Muslims from several countries visit Mecca to perform Hajj every year. Mecca is considered the holiest city for Muslims. As per the Islam, Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage takes place annually in the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah.

Meanwhile, the India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs on its website said that the process for Haj 2021 will be announced after receiving instructions from Saudi Ministry of Haj & Umrah.PTI