This year Hajj likely to be the most expensive for Pakistanis

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: This year’s Hajj could be the most expensive one for Pakistanis as its cost may exceed Rs700,000, on Wednesday.

According to local news channel report, there have been contacts at a lower level between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The sources claimed Hajj expenses this year may cross Rs700,000. Two days ago, Saudi Arabia had unveiled standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed by the pilgrims coming to the kingdom for Hajj 2021 amid COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the Saudi Ministry of Health, the authorities in the kingdom had made it compulsory for the pilgrims to get vaccinated from the designated COVID vaccine ahead of the Hajj 2021.

“The pilgrims will be bound to get vaccination ahead of the month of Zilhaj – most precisely two weeks ahead of visiting the kingdom – and had to provide a concrete evidence of getting a jab from WHO-certified vaccines,” it said, adding the foreign pilgrims would have to undergo a COVID-19 test on their arrival in the kingdom.

The health ministry further shared that those working during the Hajj 2021 would also have to receive a dose of COVID vaccine and would be bound to wear a facemask permanently during working hours.

“Those arriving in the kingdom during the Hajj season will have to undergo a PCR test 72 hours before their arrival,” it said adding that the pilgrims would have to spend 72 hours in quarantine.

The pilgrims would undergo COVID test 48 hours after their arrival by approved field service teams, the handout issued by Saudi Arabia’s ministry said, adding that 60 percent population of the holy cities, Makkah and Medinah, will undergo vaccination.

On March 09, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approved a range of initiatives aimed at assisting firms and individuals operating in support of Islamic pilgrimages, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

The initiatives were aimed at mitigating the financial and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the sector that provides support for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, SPA said.

They include exempting accommodation facilities from the annual fees for municipal commercial activities’ licences in the cities of Makkah and Medina, where the pilgrimages take place.