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Hajj 2021 to hold amidst special conditions, Saudi authorities say

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A picture taken June 23, 2020 shows a few worshippers performing al-Fajr prayer at the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque complex in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca. – Saudi Arabia held a “very limited” in 2020, with pilgrims already in the kingdom allowed to perform the annual ritual. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Saudi Arabia authorities Sunday said Hajj 2021 will hold amidst special conditions relating to health protocols and safety measures against COVID-19.

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A release from the Hajj and Umrah Ministry said the annual spiritual exercise “will go ahead this year with all the health, security and regulatory standards and regulations in place in order to preserve the health and wellbeing of the pilgrims.”

Saudi authorities revealed it would sooner announce the specific measures and organisational plans at a later date.

Although the announcement released by Saudi may have diffused concern and uncertainty about the possibility of Hajj 2021, it is not clear whether the condition will differ from the 2020 protocols.

Last year, the Saudi government disallowed the participation of international pilgrims. It restricted the pilgrimage to residents of Saudi Arabia, because of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The usual pilgrimage that traditional witnessing not less than 2.5 million Muslims from around the globe was reduced to 1,000 pilgrims residents in the kingdom.

Reacting to the development, chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Barr. Zikrullah Kunle Hassan noted that the Nigeria Hajj manager is still waiting for clarification.

“We are still awaiting further clarification. There was hajj last year but for only those in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We will know the clarification is a matter of days,” Hassan said.

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