201008 Umrah
File image: Pilgrims practice social distancing while praying around the Kaaba. Image Credit: Saudi Ministry of Haj and Umrah

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has announced that this year's Haj will be limited to Muslims inside the Kingdom, local media reported.

Only 60,000 vaccinated residents and citizens living in the Kingdom will be allowed to perform this year’s Haj pilgrimage due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced in a statement on Saturday.

“Against the backdrop of what the world is witnessing and due to the continuous developments of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the emergence of new mutations, Haj registration will be limited to residents and citizens from inside the Kingdom only,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“Muslims between the ages of 18-65 and are fully vaccinated, or those who received their first dose at least 14 days prior, those who are vaccinated and have recovered from a COVID-19 infection are allowed to register," the ministry added.

“The Ministry of Haj noted that the government of Saudi Arabia always prioritize the safety, health and security of pilgrims,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

This is the second year in a row that Saudi Arabia limits the Haj pilgrimage to Muslims inside the Kingdom. However, only 10,000 Muslims were allowed to perform Haj last year.

No further details have been announced concerning this year's safety and precautionary measures. Yet, last year, pilgrims were required to self-isolate at home seven days prior to arriving in Mecca, as part of the requirements to participate in the pilgrimage.