HAJJ | March 19th, 2020

How will Hajj 2020 and the rest of Umrah Season 2019 – 2020 be impacted by Corona Virus?

Will Hajj 2020 be impacted by Corona Virus?

Pakistan travel industry experts are expecting that the Saudi Government may reduce Hajj Quota of different countries (residents of countries most affected might completely be barred from preforming Hajj in 2020) in an effort to manage the spread of virus. If this is the case then the overall Hajj Quota from Pakistan may be reduced and hence Quota of to Private Hajj Organizers will also get reduced. This means that the availability of Private Hajj Packages for 2020 in Pakistan will go down.

Kindly note: that these are just assumptions based on opinions of with in the industry and there is no confirmation from any source about any reduction in Quota. Nothing can be confirmed until things settle down and Umrah Visa issuance is revived by the Saudi Government.

Is it true that, Coronavirus Could Very Well Slow by the Summer, increasing the chances of Hajj 2020 moving ahead as planned?

According to Bloomberg: Evidence is starting to emerge that temperature and humidity do make a difference in the ability of the virus to infect large numbers. That should give health services hope for some respite as summer spreads across northern temperate regions, aiding the ability to plan for renewed outbreaks once winter rolls around.

However, the above evidence is yet to be widely tested and scientific confirmations about the above will need some time. If it is true, then due to extremes of temperatures being reached in a hot and dry country like Saudi Arabia, virus spread might be curtailed.

Considering the ongoing situation, is it advisable to go for Hajj in 2020?

Provided below is Health Advisory by Ibadat.pk Hajj Desk for Pilgrims intending to travel for Hajj in 2020: The following travellers are requested to delay their travel due to the constant threat of the COVID 19 virus in Saudi Arabia

1. Pregnant Women
2. Children
3. Diabetic Individuals
4. Those with chronic health issues such as cancer or respiratory diseases
5. Those with congenital disorders

What are some of the health precautions recommended for people intending to travel for Hajj in 2020?

Ibadat Hajj Desk Recommends the following precautions:

1. All immunizations should be up to date of travellers going to perform Hajj. These includes: Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, flue shots and as well as Polio vaccinations

2. Carry sanitizers, medical gloves, face masks, cold, cough and diarrhoea medication, and inhalers for asthmatic patients for emergency situations

3. Due to extremes of temperatures being reached in a hot and dry country like Saudi Arabia, all Pilgrims are requested to move to the cool area and seek medical assistance when faced with dizziness or dehydration

Has Hajj Quota ever been reduced by the Saudi Government?

Yes! Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had decreased quota of Pakistani pilgrims (and other hujjaj from around the world) by 20 percent in 2013 due to construction work for the extension of Masjid Al-Haram. The reduction in quota was implemented from 2013 till 2016 after which it was restored to its original amount.

Have residents of a country ever been barred from preforming Hajj?

The most recent case was in 2016, when Iranian pilgrims did not attend Hajj after the two countries Saudi Arabia and Iran failed to agree on security and logistics. Stampede of 2015 was cited by the Saudi Government as a reason for this measure.

What Happens when Quota of Private Hajj Packages 2020 from Pakistan get reduced?

Private Hajj Organizers from Pakistan, book Hajj Packages on first come first basis. Same will be the case for Private Hajj Packages 2020 from Pakistan. In case of reduction of Quota, Private Hajj Organizers will choose the potential hujjaj who registered their interest first and will have to refund money for those Hujjaj who they are not able to take with them due to the reduction of Quota. If you plan to go for Hajj in 2020, it is advisable to register your interest sooner than later, inorder to ensure your seat is saved in the Hajj Group.

Will ban on Umrah Continue for the reminder of the season 2019 - 2020?

It was initially expected that the temporary ban on Umrah will be lifted by Mid of April. But with new events coming to light, earlier assumptions of Umrah Commencing by March End / Mid-April are not looking likely.

Some industry experts believe that Umrah might not be allowed for international travellers for the rest of the season with some saying it might open for Ramadan 2020 if things settle down in the next 15 days.

. Kindly note confirmation about any of this cannot be provided until Saudi Government provides further details. However it is advised to not book any Umrah Packages until there is more clarity on the provided by the Saudi Government.

Originally published March 19th, 2020 1:24 pm, updated March 24, 2020

Topic: Hajj

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