The Pilgrim Affairs Office of Ghana under the auspices of the Ghana Hajj Board has lifted the two years ban on the pilgrimage to the Holy land of Mecca and Madinah in Saudi Arabia.
The board announced that travellers to Mecca and Madinah, will now be allowed to travel and perform the Hajj effective 2022.
The move follows the cancellation of the religious ceremony for Muslims around the world due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chairman of the Ghana Hajj Board, Sheikh I.C. Quaye addressed a cross-section of the media in Accra saying the government has not received any funding in relation to the pilgrimage in the last two years.
He debunked assertions by a section of the society that funds from abroad to support the pilgrims is in the account of the government.
He explained that it was due to the Covid-19 pandemic that led to the temporary ban of the pilgrimage hence countries around the world have been tasked to take effective steps to vaccinate their citizenry against the virus and strictly adhere also to the laid down protocols in the Holy land when the travel ban is lifted.
“The Ghana Board in this regard have commended Government for the delivery of a total of 18,478,670 (18.4 million) doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the third quarter of 2021”, adding that Board welcomes the directives for obtaining a visa to perform Hajj and Umrah as well as vaccination directed by the Saudi government.
“The Ghana Hajj Board, therefore, urges Ghana Muslims desirous of performing Hajj next year to engage the relevant health institutions when the vaccines are made available in their communities”, he added.
According to him, Ghanaians must collectively join the global effort in the fight against the Covid-19 virus and further explained that “this can be achieved if the entire population takes a positive approach in the vaccination exercise”.
These vaccines are from the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and other donor agencies.
The acquisition of these vaccines includes 17 million single doses per person Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the African Medicine Platform, one million Pfizer vaccines from the United States of America through the COVAX facility, 229,670 Pfizer vaccines from the African Union, and 249,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the United Kingdom.
Sheikh I C Quaye said the Board will work closely with the Saudi government to ensure that the vaccination process is carried successfully and again applauded them for the proactive measures designed for the wellbeing of pilgrims set to travel to Mecca and Madinah for this all-important religious event.
He stressed that the Board remains committed and hopeful that Allah will shower his benevolence and mercy upon humanity as the virus will be fully eliminated.