Humairaa Mayet | 13 March 2020 | Image: Wikimedia
The rapid spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has sparked panic across the globe, many flight cancellations, city-wide shutdowns, and travel bans.
Saudi Arabia has begun suspending flights from certain countries which are affected by the disease on a large scale, and even evacuated the Haram in Makkah in its entirety so that the holy mosque could be sterilised. With thousands of people in confined spaces, infection spreads easily and quickly.
With Hajj 1441 fast approaching, many questions have been raised surrounding the logistics of the religious pilgrimage given that COVID-19 and the issues that accompany it have become an almost salient feature of international travel.
Speaking to Salaamedia’s Inayet Wadee on The Alternative View, Shaheen Essop explained that the Saudi Hajj Ministry simply called for administrative issues – such as those concerning hotels and airlines – to be put on hold. Essop, President of the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC), stated that the communiqué he received stated that it is too early to determine whether or not Hajj will take place this year.
Essop said that those who have received accreditation need not panic, and that these are simply precautionary measures being put into place. As of next week, finer details such as financial matters and recompenses will be discussed.
“Given that it is still ‘early days’ and more clarity is needed, there is no need to panic,” explained Essop. Relevant information will be provided in due time.