Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia
- On June 22, 2020, The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that only people who currently reside in country will be permitted to perform Hajj this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- CDC recommends that Americans already in Saudi Arabia not make the pilgrimage. Mass gatherings, such as Hajj, can increase the risk for infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
What is the current situation?
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 make the pilgrimage this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
If you get sick while performing 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.
What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?
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.
- Reduce your chances of infection.
- Protect yourself from hot temperatures and sun exposure.
- Expect daytime temperatures over 100°F.
- Stay hydrated.
- Perform rituals at night when possible.
- Carry an umbrella to shade yourself from the sun.
- Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher when outdoors.
- Follow security and safety advice for mass gatherings.
- Avoid densely crowded areas.
- Perform rituals during non-peak hours.
- Know all emergency exit locations and how to get there.
- Keep copies of your passport and entry stamp with you.
- Enter local emergency service numbers and contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate into your mobile phone.
- Follow all local laws and social customs.
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.
- Statement by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah
- Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel (US Department of State)
- Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
- Consular & Travel Services – Hajj and Umrah Visa (Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
- Health Information for Travelers to Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia: Hajj/Umrah Pilgrimage in CDC Yellow Book: Health Information for International Travel