The 544 places allocated to Muslim pilgrims from Singapore for the upcoming haj season have been filled. Of the successful applicants, 513 are first-timers and the rest are repeat applicants. A total of 8,000 people are on the waiting list.
The number of pilgrims allowed into Saudi Arabia has shrunk by 20 per cent this year due to major development and upgrading projects taking place taking place in the vicinity of the Holy Mosque in Mecca, in particular the expansion of the Mataf area. This 20 per cent reduction is applicable to all countries, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in a statement on Thursday.
Muis added that the Saudi Health Ministry had released a released a circular regarding the MERS-CoV virus outbreak in the Middle East, advising the elderly, pregnant women and those suffering from chronic illnesses to consider postponing their pilgrimage as a precaution.
Some 21 Singaporeans aged 65 and above will be heading for the haj this year. Muis said it is also working closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure that pilgrims adhere by the health advisory issued by the MOH.