RIYADH 

Saudi Arabia has curtailed this year’s hajj pilgrimage to a limited number of people due to the spread of coronavirus.

“A very limited number of people will perform Hajj,” Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah told a press conference.

He said that less than 10,000 Muslim worshippers are expected to perform the ritual.

“We are still in the process of discussion” in this regard, he said, adding that only people who are under 65 and those who don’t suffer from chronic diseases will be allowed to perform Hajj this year.

Al-Rabiah stressed that pilgrims will conduct coronavirus tests before Hajj and will be subject to a home-quarantine for 14 days after the ritual.

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammad Saleh, for his part, said Riyadh will bar international pilgrims from making the pilgrimage.

“We have exceptional plans this year to perform a safe, healthy Hajj,” he said.

Last year, around 2.4 million pilgrims performed Hajj, according to official estimates.

Saudi Arabia has so far registered 161,005 cases of infection and 1,307 deaths.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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