Hajj Pilgrims Makkah
Saudi authorities have allowed registration for nearly a quarter of slots that are still vacant for domestic pilgrims. Image Credit: WAM

Cairo: Saudi authorities have allowed registration for nearly a quarter of slots that are still vacant for domestic pilgrims, days before the start of the annual Islamic pilgrimage in the kingdom, a TV report said.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah opened Thursday registration for the vacant places for Muslims residing inside Saudi Arabia, Saudi-owned television Al Arabiya said.

Registration was allowed after the withdrawal of some pilgrims who had earlier applied to attend this year’s Hajj, the television added, quoting unidentified sources.

Their withdrawal has left around 24 per cent of the total 150,000 places allotted for domestic pilgrims, it added. The vacant slots will be filled via Hajj campaigns, according to the television. There was no comment from the ministry.

Saudi Arabia has said it will allow 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to perform upcoming Hajj, after restricting the annual ritual to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Eligible pilgrims this year must be under 65, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a negative PCR test result, Saudi authorities have said.

Around 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic.