There is still confusion about how Saudi Arabia plans to coordinate the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina’s holiest sites of Islam. Hajj is considered mandatory for all able-bodied Muslims at least once in life.
Saudi Arab has seen significant rise of infections as it facilitates stringent lockdown measures, with the number of daily cases on Sunday exceeding 3,000 for the second day in a row.
About 2.5 million pilgrims come to Medina and Mecca each year for the week-long Hajj. Saudi Arabia earns $12 billion per annum, according to reports. The country requested pilgrims in March to place Hajj plans on hold, and also postponed Umrah until the further notice.
With strict procedures, authorities believe it could be possible to allow up to 20 percent of the regular quota of pilgrims in each country, another source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Some officials are still pushing for a cancelation of the Hajj, which is expected to begin late July, said the three sources.