Riyadh, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- Saudi Arabia’s government on Monday said only medical and security personnel who have recovered from the coronavirus will be allowed to perform Hajj this year in recognition for their efforts to tackle the disease.
The Saudi health and security personnel will represent 30 percent of the total pilgrims cleared to perform the rituals this year, while the rest will belong to expats residing in the kingdom.
“Saudis will be selected from the database of the recovered, those who meet health standards, in recognition for their role in caring for segments of society,” during the pandemic, the state-run SPA news agency said.
The ministry of Hajj has listed requirements the expats have to meet to be eligible for this year’s pilgrimage.
The priority will be for those who do not suffer from chronic diseases, have passed a PCR test, have never previously performed the rituals and are between 20 and 50 years old.
The selected foreigners will have to commit to a mandatory quarantine before and after the Hajj.
Earlier in the day, the Saudi government announced the health protocols to be followed during Hajj, which include preventing the faithful from kissing or touching the Kaaba and the Black Stone, the most sacred places for Muslims inside Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
Pilgrims will also encounter fences and security barriers, SPA added.
The Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control aims to prevent people from getting close to the Kaaba, a cube-shaped construction that Muslims consider to be a broken piece of paradise, and maintain at least a 1.5-meter distance between the pilgrims as they go around the Kaaba.
There will be checkpoints at the access points to Mecca to measure the temperature of the pilgrims who will have to wear masks during the rituals.