MAKKAH — Saudi Arabia has announced on Sunday the Hajj will be held this year following health and safety requirements due to the pandemic.

The Hajj and Umrah Ministry said in a statement that Hajj will go ahead this year with all the health, security and regulatory standards and regulations in place in order to preserve the health and well being of the pilgrims.

“Health authorities in the Kingdom continue to assess the situation and are taking all measures to ensure the safety of all,” the spokesman said during a press conference.

He also said further details on the operational plans for this year’s Hajj will be announced “at a later time.” Last year, the Kingdom only allowed a limited number of those livin in the country and who met certain criteria to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and required for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime

Those who managed to secure a spot were randomly selected through an automated raffle system, with no human involvement, according to the Minister of Hajj and Umrah.

The group was required to self isolate at home seven days prior to arriving in Mecca, as part of the requirements to participate in the Haj pilgrimage 2021.

The participants were then Quarantined in the designated hotel until the start of the rituals.

The Haj pilgrims were transported in assigned groups daily while every 50 individuals were accompanied by a health leader to ensure safety measures,including wearing a mask & social distancing,were implemented at all times.