On June 22, 2020, The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that only people who currently reside in country will be permitted to make the pilgrimage this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is one of the world’s largest annual mass gatherings. In 2020, Hajj will take place July 28–August 2. The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is not permitting anyone who is not currently in country to attend the pilgrimage this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The US CDC recommends that Americans in Saudi Arabia not make the pilgrimage. It can be difficult to practice social distancing when attending mass gatherings (such as Hajj). This can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

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If you get sick while attending Hajj and need to go to the hospital, medical resources may be limited. In addition, if you get sick with COVID-19 while abroad, you may be isolated or not allowed to return to the United States until after you have recovered from your illness.

CDC recommends that Americans already in Saudi Arabia not make the pilgrimage this year.

If you travel, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact by maintaining 6 feet of physical distance from others.
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after touching surfaces frequently touched by others, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before touching your face or eating. If soap and water are not readily available, bring and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is ill.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Do not travel if you are sick.

When you return to the United States

  • Stay home, or in a comparable location such as a hotel, for 14 days after arriving in the United States.
  • Monitor your health and practice social distancing.
  • Learn more about what to do if you are sick after travel.

To date, Saudi Arabia has reported 190,823 COVID-19 cases, including 1649 deaths.