Postpone your Haj plans, Saudi tells Muslims

Saudi Arabia has asked Haj pilgrims to postpone their plans to visit Mecca, as there is uncertainty over the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia suspended Umrah over fears of the novel coronavirus.

Talking to the state-run Al Ekhbariya television Haj minister Mohammad Benten said, “Under the current circumstances, as we are talking about the global pandemic […] the kingdom is keen to protect the health of Muslims and citizens and so we have asked our brother Muslims in all countries to wait before doing Haj contracts until the situation is clear.”

Last year, 25 lakh people performed Haj from all over the world. It has been a major revenue earner for the kingdom. However, the Saudi authorities are yet to announce this year’s plan.

The government is scrambling to limit the spread of the disease at home. The health ministry has reported 1,563 coronavirus infections and 10 deaths from the illness so far.