Haj 2020 Cancellation.
Saudi Arabia is considering canceling the annual hajj pilgrimage this year due to the coronavirus/Covid 19 pandemic.
The hajj, which involves traveling to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is a mandatory ritual for all observant Muslims who can afford the trip and physically complete the journey at least once in their lifetime. One of the largest religious gatherings in the world, hajj draws about 2 million people to Saudi Arabia each year.
Officials are considering different scenarios and a “decision will be made within one week,” a senior official from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah ministry told the newspaper.
This year’s hajj is supposed to take place from July 29 to Aug. 4, but Saudi Arabia has yet to lift an international travel ban implemented on May 20. Other countries have already declined to send pilgrims this year.
The kingdom experienced a spike in coronavirus cases and deaths after loosening lockdown measures, the report said. Saudi Arabia has reported more than 123,300 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 932 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
A cancellation of the hajj could put further economic pressure on a country. Those making the pilgrimage were expected to generate $12 billion for the kingdom.