All 544 places for haj pilgrims snapped up

All 544 places for haj pilgrims snapped up
Singaporean pilgrims praying in Arafah while performing the Haj.

SINGAPORE - All 544 places allocated to Muslim pilgrims from Singapore for the upcoming haj season have been taken up.

Of the successful applicants, 513 are first-timers. About 8,000 people are on the waiting list.

Saudi Arabia has reduced the number of places this year to allow for expansion work at the Holy City of Mecca's Grand Mosque.

The number of pilgrims from abroad has been reduced by 20 per cent.

This reduction applies to all countries, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in a statement on Thursday.

It added that the Saudi Health Ministry had 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 going on the haj this year.

Muis said it is working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that pilgrims adhere by the advisory issued by Singapore's health authority.

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