Saudi says no restrictions on number of Hajj pilgrims in 2023

3/14/2023 4:55 PM

There will be no restrictions on Hajj pilgrims this year after three years of pandemic curbs limited numbers.  

Saudi Arabia announced Monday that Hajj will resume at full capacity in 2023. That means there will be no Covid restrictions or conditions, checks, or upper age limit.

The Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, said: "The number of pilgrims in the Hajj 1444 AH season will return to what they were before the Corona pandemic, without conditions on age."

Approximately 2.5 million people participated in the rituals in 2019, but due to the pandemic, the number of participants significantly reduced in the following two years.

But last year, Saudi allowed 1 million to perform the pilgrimage as long as they were triple-vaccinated and under 65.  

The announcement was made during the opening of #Hajj_Expo 2023, a four-day event aimed at improving the cultural and religious experiences of those making pilgrimage.

Delegations from over 50 countries are expected to attend various keynote sessions, panel discussions, and workshops. The event is part of the Saudi Vision 2030, a strategic framework, which aims to transform the country.

Three years of restrictions

Hajj is performed between the 8th to 12th of Dhul Hijjah.  

Though the exact dates will be known nearer the time, subject to the sighting of the moon, those dates could fall between 26 June 2023 to 1 July 2023.  

In 2022, Saudi opened an online portal for potential pilgrims to register their interest to perform the Hajj.

The move signalled a return to some normality, with Saudi allowing a million people to perform pilgrimage last year.

In the past three years, foreign pilgrims could not perform Hajj due to pandemic restrictions.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Saudi closed its borders and Hajj was restricted to 1,000 domestic pilgrims. In 2021, numbers were still limited to 60,000.