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Saudi Arabia lifts restriction on Hajj pilgrim numbers

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Saudi Arabia will not impose limits on the number of pilgrims for this year's Hajj, a Saudi minister said on Monday, after three years of restrictions to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The number of pilgrims will return to what it was before the pandemic, without any age limit," Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq al-Rabiah told reporters in Riyadh.

During the opening of #Hajj_Expo 2023, H.E. Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq AlRabiah announces:

“Number of Hajj pilgrims in 1444H will return to how it was before the Coronavirus pandemic without age restrictions.”#Makkah_and_Madinah_Eagerly_Await_You pic.twitter.com/IZaPNqapIV
— Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (@MoHU_En) January 9, 2023

The pilgrimage — one of five pillars of Islam, and which all able-bodied Muslims with the means are required to perform at least once — is scheduled for June.

In 2019, about 2.5 million people took part in the Hajj. For the next two years numbers were drastically curtailed numbers due to the pandemic.

Also read: Ashrafi commends Saudi govt for facilitating pilgrims

In 2022, nearly 900,000 pilgrims, including some 780,000 from abroad, were welcomed to Islam's holiest cities of Makkah and Madina.

At that time, they had to be aged under 65, as well as have a vaccination against Covid-19 and present a negative test.

An economic reform plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to increase Umrah and Hajj capacity to 30 million pilgrims annually and to generate 50 billion riyals ($13.32 billion) of revenues by 2030.

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