Saudi Arabia will not impose limits on the number of pilgrims for this year’s hajj, a Saudi minister said Monday, after three years of restrictions to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The number of pilgrims will return to what it was before the pandemic, without any age limit,” Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq al-Rabiah told reporters in Riyadh.
The pilgrimage — one of five pillars of Islam, and which all able-bodied Muslims with the means are required to perform at least once — is scheduled for June.
In 2019, about 2.5 million people took part in the rituals. For the next two years numbers were drastically curtailed due to the pandemic.
In 2022, nearly 900,000 pilgrims, including some 780,000 from abroad, were welcomed to Makkah and Madinah.
At that time, they had to be aged under 65, as well as have a vaccination against Covid-19 and present a negative test.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah last week opened registration for Hajj pilgrims within the kingdom.
With no restrictions this year, the number of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia in the upcoming season will be similar to the pre-pandemic levels, Reuters reported citing state media. Saudi Arabia will not impose any restrictions, including age limits, on Hajj pilgrims in 2023, according to the Hajj minister.
“The number of pilgrims will return to what it was before the pandemic, without any age limit,” Tawfiq al-Rabiah, minister of Hajj and Umrah, announced during the opening of Hajj Expo 2023.
The ministry of Hajj and Umrah, however, had earlier said that priority for registration this year will be given to those who have not made the pilgrimage before, reported local media.