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Saudi Arabia opens registration for scaled-down hajj

Saudi Arabia has opened hajj registration for foreign residents in the kingdom, saying they will make up 70 percent of the pilgrims after it scaled back the annual ritual due to the coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia has said it will allow only around 1,000 pilgrims already present in the kingdom to participate in this year’s hajj, scheduled for the end of July, a far cry from the 2.5 million who attended the five-day pilgrimage last year.

Foreign residents aged between 20 and 65 who have no previous health ailments such as diabetes and heart conditions are allowed to register online, the hajj ministry says.

Saudi citizens will make up the remaining 30 percent of the pilgrims, with the ritual restricted to medical professionals and security personnel who have recovered from the virus, the ministry said.

The pilgrims will be tested for the coronavirus before arriving in the holy city of Mecca and are required to quarantine at home after the ritual, according to health officials.

— AFP

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