Hajj 2020 – Saudi Arabia Asks Muslims To Defer Hajj Plans Due To Coronavirus
Here's everything you need to know about Hajj Minister Mohammed Benten's latest interview regarding Hajj this year.
As the entire world is currently in panic and chaos due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Saudi Arabia’s Hajj minister urged Muslims across the world on Tuesday to postpone preparations for the annual pilgrimage.
The appeal came days after Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round ‘Umrah’ pilgrimage in order to prevent the rapid spread of novel Coronavirus in Mecca and its surrounding areas. Ever since Saudi Arabia suspended Umrah pilgrimage, Muslims have been waiting for the announcement whether they will proceed with this year’s hajj or not.
Speaking to the state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV, Hajj Minister Mohammed Benten has said that Saudi Arabia is all set serve pilgrims and umrah seekers but owing to Coronavirus Pandemic, the Kingdom is keen to protect the health of Muslims and citizens.
Keeping in mind the protection of Muslim people, “We have asked our brother Muslims in all countries to wait before doing (hajj) contracts until the situation is clear,” Mohammed Benten said.
The Hajj pilgrimage — which last year attracted 2.5 million people — is a key revenue earner for the kingdom. But it could be a major source of contagion as it packs pilgrims closely in religious sites.
Besides suspending Umrah, Saudi Arabia had earlier this month suspended prayers inside all its mosques except the two holiest sites in Islam as it increased efforts to contain the new coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia is scrambling to limit the spread of the disease at home. The kingdom’s health ministry has reported 1,563 coronavirus infections and 10 deaths from the illness as of now.