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Has Hajj been cancelled in 2020?

Has Hajj been cancelled in 2020?
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The status of the annual Islamic pilgrimage is in doubt in 2020

Around now we would normally be advising Muslims planning to attend the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, to book their travel health appointments as the kingdom has some strict vaccination requirements for pilgrims. But the status of the 2020 Hajj, which in most years sees two million Muslims travelling to the city of Mecca for pilgrimage, is in doubt because of travel restrictions caused by covid-19.

Saudi officials have been urging Muslims to delay making travel plans for Hajj. Back in February visas for the Umrah pilgrimage were cancelled, in some cases when pilgrims were on flights.

Pilgrims book months in advance for Hajj, and many packages are not refundable. Tour operators in Canada have already seen cancellations by travellers, but some remain optimistic that Hajj will go ahead in 2020.

The Government of Canada has advised against all but essential travel abroad, but has not specifically defined essential travel.

To find out the latest information about whether to book for Hajj, speak with a trusted travel agent as they will have the latest information and are best placed to advise you on any bookings. You should also keep an eye on foreign travel advice issued by the Government of Canada and on the Saudi Ministry of Hajj.

Should I get vaccinated for Hajj?

It is likely that there will be disruption to the 2020 Hajj, and it may be that you will not be able to carry out your pilgrimage as planned. If you do go, however, you will need to follow the Saudi government’s health requirements or you will be turned away.

At present all travellers entering Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage need a meningococcal meningitis certificate issued no more than three years previously and no less than ten days before arrival. Some travellers will need a polio vaccination certificate. And some travellers will need a yellow fever certificate. It is best to discuss your plans with a travel health expert, rather than trying to work out what shots you need for your trip.

You can read more about this on the Embassy of Canada to Saudi Arabia’s Hajj factsheet.

Note that all these vaccinations provide protection for a number of years, so the certificates would be valid for future years if you found you could not travel this year.

Where can I get health advice about travel to Saudi Arabia?

Our travel advice article on the Middle East has plenty of tips on staying healthy during Hajj.

When is Hajj in 2020?

Hajj is expected to take place 28 July to 1 August in 2020. We recommend making a travel health appointment six to eight weeks before you travel, as some travel vaccines must be given in multiple doses. So if Hajj is going ahead, and you plan to travel to Saudi Arabia, now is the perfect time to get travel health advice.

I’m looking for a travel clinic in Ottawa

Look no further than Canadian Travel Clinics if you need a travel clinic in Ottawa. We can offer evening and early morning appointments for your convenience.