Reduced pilgrim quota to stay until next year

Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah, accompanied by Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, inspects progress of work on the Haram expansion project on Monday. (SPA)

Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah, accompanied by Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, inspects progress of work on the Haram expansion project on Monday. (SPA)

Hatem Al-Qadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Haj said his ministry has decided to keep in place the reduction in the numbers of domestic and international pilgrims by 50 percent and 20 percent respectively.

He explained that the decision will continue to take effect owing to the huge expansion projects still under way in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

“The decision was issued during the last meeting of the Ministry of Haj and aims to maintain the health and safety of pilgrims,” said Al-Qadi, adding that the ministry uses the data available to serve visitors and worshippers and make their journey enjoyable and memorable.

Al-Qadi confirmed that the number of pilgrims this year will be the same as in the last Haj season. “Last year, there were a total of 1,980, 249 pilgrims of which 1,379, 531 were from outside the Kingdom and 600,718 were domestic pilgrims,” he said.

He stressed that Saudi citizens and residents should adhere to the ministry’s decision of performing Haj once in five years.

He noted that the new expansions of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque are the largest in the history of the city. Such expansions will result in accommodating 2.2 million worshippers in the Grand Mosque, and will double the current capacity of the Mataf from 48 thousand worshippers an hour to more than 105 thousand.

“The expansions will also increase the capacity of the courtyards surrounding the Grand Mosque, and lessen the urban congestions around the area to the north, the west and northeast,” said Al-Qadi. Senior officials at the Ministry of Haj highlighted the royal decision to reduce the numbers of pilgrims in view of the capacity of the Mataf area during the expansion works.

 
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