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Indonesia pulls out of Hajj this year on virus concerns

Indonesia pulls out of Hajj this year on virus concerns

More than 220,000 people from the country were expected to participate in this year’s Hajj

Indonesia is pulling out of the annual Hajj this year over coronavirus fears, the religious affairs ministry said on Tuesday.

More than 220,000 people from the country were expected to participate in this year’s Hajj, officials said.

“This was a very bitter and difficult decision,” religious affairs minister Fachrul Razi was quoted as saying. “But we have a responsibility to protect our pilgrims and Hajj workers.”

Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, has a quota system for Hajj with the average wait time reported to be 20 years.

The Hajj pilgrimage, which drew 2.5 million pilgrims last year to Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia, is the world’s largest annual gathering of Muslims.

It is expected to take place end of July/early August this year.

Saudi authorities have currently suspended all Umrah pilgrimages due to the pandemic and are yet to confirm whether the Hajj pilgrimage will go ahead.

Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Banten, has called upon countries worldwide to ‘be patient’ in concluding Hajj contracts for this year.

Read: Saudi minister calls on countries to ‘be patient’ regarding Hajj pilgrimage

The kingdom has reported 89,011 Covid-19 cases in the country, with the death toll at 549 and the total number of recoveries at 65,790.

Read: GCC Covid-19 update: UAE reports 596 cases, 3 deaths; Saudi registers 24 deaths

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