The Ministry of Religious Affairs has announced that the balloting of the government Hajj scheme will take place on Thursday at 4 pm. The government will do the balloting to pick about 100,000 pilgrims for performing Hajj this year under the government scheme.
A total of 1,49,330 applications received under the Government Hajj Scheme. According to the Hajj Policy 2020, initially 179,210 Pakistanis to perform the sacred religious obligation. This includes 107,526 under the Government Hajj Scheme and 71,684 through Hajj Group Organizers.
Some 10,000 seats under the government scheme reserved for senior citizens. As many as 500 seats have been reserved for accommodating low paid employees of public sector/corporate organizations.
The government Hajj package (per person) is Rs 463,445 for the north region and Rs 486,270 for the south region of Pakistan without Qurbani. However, Rs 486,270 and Rs 478,520 for north and south regions respectively with Qurbani.
With this coronavirus spreading across the globe, Saudia Arabia might take a strict health measures for Hajj this year. Muslims across the globe travel to the kingdom to fulfil religious duties.
Hajj is one of the most important religious pilgrimages for Muslims. They dream and strive to perform it at least once in their life; since it is obligatory provided the believer is physically and monetarily able.
Travel ban in Saudi Arabia
After coronavirus was declared a ‘pandemic’ by the World Health Organisation, Saudi Arabia has temporarily put a travel ban on several states including Pakistan. The decision includes the European Union, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended the entry of foreigners for pilgrimage and tourism purposes. It is to prevent travel to the country’s holiest sites over fears of the fast-spreading coronavirus.
In a statement, Riyadh’s government said that they are temporarily suspending entry to the kingdom for the purpose of umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque.
Saudi Arabia has so far 45 confirmed coronavirus cases.
WHO declares Coronavirus pandemic
Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak, a pandemic. As it has spread to at least 114 countries around the world.
Around 4,000 people died and the infected toll shot above 120,000 across the globe. Addressing a press conference, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases outside of China has risen 13-fold over the past two weeks.
“The body has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and was deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity as well as the inaction”, he said.
Furthermore, US President Donald Trump announced a European travel ban and a series of measures to tackle the virus. The NBA has suspended the basketball season, while Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have both been hospitalised in Australia with the virus.