Saudi Arabia’s Haj minister on Tuesday asked Muslims to temporarily postpone Haj plans amid concern about the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia postponed Umrah earlier this month, due to concerns of the latest coronavirus.
“Saudi Arabia is completely prepared to serve pilgrims,” Haj minister Mohammad Benten told state-run television station Al Ekhbariya.
“But in the current circumstances, when we are thinking about the global pandemic […] the Kingdom is keen to protect the safety of Muslims and people, and so we have asked our Muslim brother in all countries to wait until the situation is clear before making contracts with Haj.” The Saudi authorities have yet to decide whether they will continue with this year’s Haj.
Haj, which attracted 2.5 million people last year, is Saudi Arabia’s main earner in revenue.
The government is struggling to prevent disease transmission at home. There have been 1,563 coronavirus infections confirmed by the health ministry and 10 deaths from the disease to date.