Saudi Arabia said Monday that this year’s hajj will not be canceled, but that due to the Coronavirus pandemic only “very limited numbers” of people will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage.

Iran Press/Middle East: The decision was taken due to the ongoing threat from the coronavirus pandemic and to preserve “global public health,” the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said.

The ministry said that only people of various nationalities already residing in the country would be allowed to perform the hajj.

The government did not specify how many people would be permitted to take part.

The annual pilgrimage, which is set to begin this year at the end of July, traditionally draws around 2 million Muslims from around the world.

Saudi Arabia has never canceled the hajj in the nearly 90 years since the nation’s establishment.

It halted the minor umrah pilgrimage, which can be performed year-round, in February, as the coronavirus began spreading across the region.

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