African pilgrims may miss out on Hajj 2021 over mandatory covid-19 vaccination
London, March 3, 2021 (AltAfrica)-African pilgrims may miss out on hajj 2021 after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia imposed mandatory covid-19 vaccination as a requirement for intending pilgrims
Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister, Tawfig Al-Rabiah, announced on March 1 that COVID-19 vaccination will be a requirement for performing Hajj (Islamic pilgrimage) this year.
The announcement will be particularly disturbing for many intending pilgrims from many African countries where covid-19 vaccination is just commencing as against many developed countries
Except for Morocco and Egypt, many African countries are just beginning to receive vaccines from covax.
Against the new mandatory covid vaccination for intending pilgrims, Saudi Arabia has ordered the formation of a COVID-19 vaccination committee for hajj pilgrims, stressing that only those vaccinated against the corona virus will be allowed to participate in the 2021 Islamic pilgrimage season.
Tawfig Al-Rabiah also called for early preparation to secure the manpower required to operate health facilities in Makkah, Madinah and the ports of entry for pilgrims for the Hajj season.
Al-Rabiah did not specify the number of pilgrims that Saudi Arabia will receive this year, or did he mention whether the number will be limited as it was in the 2020 Hajj season.
Saudi Arabia has put together an unprecedented plan to conduct the 2021 Hajj season, which involves both the formation of regiments in secure distances and the intensification of sterilization and disinfection operations.
Saudi authorities prepared for the start of the procedures by administering coronavirus tests to pilgrims before placing them in a ten-day quarantine.
Taking into account the pandemic, the Hajj season in 2020 was exceptional; the number of pilgrims was limited to around 10,000 from Saudi Arabia alone, compared to around 700,00 locals in 2019.