Indonesia cancels Hajj for 2nd year over Covid-19 concerns
Jakarta, June 3 (EFE).- Indonesia Thursday canceled the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for the second year in a row for pilgrims from the most populous Muslim country in the world.
Religion Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said, in a statement, that the government decided to cancel the pilgrimage for the safety and health of the pilgrims for Hajj in July.
The country registered over 5,000 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the overall caseload to more than 1.83 million since the pandemic began.
Millions of Muslims from across take the journey to the holiest sites in Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj every year.
Saudi Arabia, which has a total caseload of more than 450,000 infections and nearly 8,000 Covid-19 deaths, announced in March that only fully vaccinated pilgrims will be allowed to perform Hajj this year.
Saudi Arabia closed the holy sites for about seven months in 2020 due to the pandemic before reopening them in October last year, with a limited number of worshipers allowed inside.
The pilgrimage did take place in July last year with only about 1,000 worshipers from the kingdom.
Many of the countries with large Muslim populations follow a quota system to allow people for the journey.
The pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many Muslims and is among the five pillars of Islam after professing the faith, praying five times a day, keep Ramadan fast, and giving charity to the poor. EFE