Saudi Arabia receives first group of overseas Hajj pilgrims since pandemic

About 360 arrived in city of Madinah from Indonesia

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Saudi Arabia on Saturday received the first pilgrims for this year’s Hajj from outside the kingdom.

The first flight arrived at Madinah from Indonesia carrying 358 pilgrims, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

“Today, we are pleased to receive the guests of God from outside the kingdom after a two-year interruption due to the pandemic,” Mohammed Al Bejawi, Undersecretary of the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, told state-run Al Ekhbariya TV channel.

More flights carrying pilgrims from Malaysia and India will follow, Mr Al Bejawi said.

Each year, millions of Muslims travel to Makkah to perform Hajj.

For the past two years, pilgrims from abroad were barred from attending Hajj because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi authorities have set out health requirements that Hajj pilgrims from outside the kingdom have to meet before landing in the country.

Hajj passengers must be under 65, fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and have a negative result from a PCR test done within 72 hours of their departure flight.

Foreign worshippers will make up the bulk of the one million pilgrims allowed to perform Hajj this year, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said last month.

Hajj pilgrims travelling from overseas are expected to constitute 85 per cent of the total number attending.

All Muslims who are able to are required to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Updated: June 05, 2022, 11:25 AM