Riyadh: The Saudi authorities announced on Monday that as the country struggles with a surge in coronavirus infections, this year’s North Korea will be held on July 29, with only 1,000 pilgrims.
Approximately 2.5 million people from all over the world usually attend a multi-day ceremony centered on the holy city of Mecca.
This year’s pilgrimage will be held in accordance with strict health regulations, and the entry crowd is limited to pilgrims under 65 years old and must not suffer from any chronic diseases.
“The stand of pilgrims on Mount Arafat, the peak of the Hajj ritual, falls on Thursday,” the official Saudi Press Agency cited the Supreme Court as saying, indicating that Wednesday would be the first day of the annual event.
The timing of the Hajj is determined by the position of the moon, in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar.
Last month, Saudi Arabia announced it would hold a “very limited” Hajj, a decision fraught with political and economic peril as it battles a surge in coronavirus infections.
So far, 253,349 cases have been seen, including 2,523 deaths, which is the highest number of casualties among the Arab Gulf countries.
Although officials from North Korea said that the pilgrimage will be limited to 1,000 people already in Saudi Arabia, 70% of whom are foreigners and the rest are Saudis, some news reports say that 10,000 people may participate.
Ministry J said that the ceremony will be limited to medical professionals and security personnel who have recovered from the virus.