Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq al Rabiah says all Hajj pilgrims are now welcome to Islam's holiest cities of Mecca and Medina this year after numbers were drastically curtailed in 2020 due to Covid-19.
Saudi Arabia has announced that it will no longer impose limits on the number of pilgrims for this year's Hajj 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 on Monday.
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.
Before the pandemic 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 Islam's holiest cities of Mecca and Medina.
At that time, they had to be aged under 65. They were also required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and to present a negative test.
READ MORE:Here’s why the future of Hajj hinges on technology