The Saudi Arabia government announced on 9 March (local time) that it plans to remove COVID-19 quarantine restrictions and attract pre-pandemic pilgrims during the summer solstice (pilgrimage to Mecca), which will begin at the end of June.
Reuters· "The number of pilgrims will return to pre-pandemic levels," Tawfiq al-Rabia Hajj and Umrah minister. Tawfiq al-Rabia told reporters in the capital, Riyadh, "there is no age limit," according to AFP news agency.
Hajj and Umrah Minister tweeted earlier in the day that Saudi Arabia, the home of the Islamic holy city of Mecca and Medina, would remove all restrictions, including the age limit during the summer solstice.
Earlier, the authorities limited pilgrimages allowed last year to those aged 18~65 who have been fully vaccinated or who have secured immunity due to COVID-19 infection and have non-underlying diseases. They had to bring a negative test.
According to AFP, the number of pilgrims dropped from 2.5 million in 2019, just before the outbreak of COVID-19, to nearly 900,000 in 2022.
Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the three holiest cities of Islam. This year's summer solstice is expected to begin on June 26. Hajj is one of the five religious' obligations (pillars) of Islam and must be performed at least once in a Muslim lifetime. [News1]