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Abu Dhabi Limits Access to Malls, Beaches to Green Pass Holders - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 10, 2021

(Bloomberg) --

Abu Dhabi will restrict entry to public venues including malls and beaches to people who have a “green pass” as coronavirus cases start to inch higher in the United Arab Emirates.

The green pass, which can be accessed via the government’s health app, will use a color-coded system to indicate vaccination status and PCR test validity, according to state-run WAM news agency.

The new rules in oil-rich Abu Dhabi will be effective June 15 for venues including malls and large supermarkets, gyms, hotels, public parks and beaches, as well as restaurants and cafes. Last month, neighboring Dubai began trialling the resumption of entertainment and sporting events for people who have been vaccinated.

The UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has one of the highest inoculation rates globally. Still, cases have risen over the past month as the economy fully reopens and amid higher tourist arrivals.

Read More: UAE Weighs Curbs on Unvaccinated People, Sparking Criticism

What It’s Like to Visit Paris Right Now - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 10, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Angelina Rascouet is Bloomberg’s European luxury reporter, based in Paris.

When Parisians woke up on May 19, they found a city reborn. Overnight, the curfew had been pushed back to 11 p.m. from 9 p.m. The streets surrounding Opera Garnier went from pin-drop silent to bustling, with locals eager for the first “cafés en terrasse’’ since October. Not too far away, in the lively Pigalle district, the excitement was such that bistro owners served their first pints before 10 a.m.

It was the first sign that Paris was gradually waking up from months of stringent restrictions.

That process has been slow, and it’s still ongoing. Some landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, remain shut—its reopening is slated for July 16. But the seven-day average of new daily cases has declined by 83% since the end of March, and as of June 8, 55% of France’s adult population has received a first vaccine dose. That’s allowed most shops, museums, theaters, and terraces to return to a mostly normal rhythm, albeit with 50% occupancy restrictions through the end of June.

International tourists have been notably absent thus far, but those, too, are coming soon. 

As of June 9, visitors from a “green” region, including the EU, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and Australia, can come to France without a Covid-19 test so long as they’re fully vaccinated. Tourists from “orange” countries such as the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. will still need to show a negative PCR or antigen test, even if they’ve been inoculated. If you’re coming from a red-zone country, like Brazil, India, or South Africa, a minimum seven-day quarantine remains in place. 

Travelers seem eager to work within the confines. “We’re seeing initial signs that American customers are coming back this month and next,’’ says Isabelle Bouvier, hotel director of the Left Bank’s most luxurious hotel, Le Lutetia. But she says it’s too early to know whether the tourism season will be saved. These days, Palace hotels such as hers have just 8% to 15% of their rooms full—compared to 70% in a normal summer—according to UMIH Prestige hotel industry group.

If Paris received around 10 million tourists during summer 2019, the Tourism Office expects half as many visitors this year. But that’s just one reason that Paris may look and feel a little different than you remembered. 

The Dining Scene

The pandemic shook Paris’s dining scene to its core. For more than half a year, restaurants were fully unable to serve guests on their premises. With state aid continuing, it’s hard to gauge how many venues have shut down permanently. Many dining rooms went dark temporarily; fearing they might dilute their brand with delivery services, they opted not to do business at all until brighter days arrive. 

That time is now. With balmy temperatures, luxuriously late sunsets, and a curfew that’s been newly reset at 11 p.m., Parisians have taken back their dining habits with gusto. In some streets with narrow sidewalks, it’s hard to move around without bumping into a chair or a wooden deck. 

For those seeking ample outdoor space as well as refined cuisine, Loulou makes a great bet. It’s located next to the Louvre and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and serves Italian and Mediterranean cuisine from a green outdoor space on the Tuileries gardens. “We’re lucky we’re in a garden that’s very much protected from the city’s tumult—a little haven of peace in a metropolis,’’ says Loulou co-founder Gilles Malafosse.

Also claiming excellent outdoor spaces right now are Bistrot Paul Bert, Chez l’Ami Jean, and Le Comptoir du Relais—all of them classic Parisian bistros and beloved fixtures of the city’s dining scene.

Culture Makes a Comeback

Plenty of new cultural and shopping destinations have opened just in time for tourism’s big restart. Here are a few ideas for how to spend your days, depending on whether you’re still Covid-cautious or ready to party like it’s 2019.

If you’re Covid-wary: Paris and its surroundings offer multiple green escapades, whether it’s the Jardin des Plantes and its zoo, Claude Monet’s Giverny residence, or the gardens of the Château de Versailles. If riding the commuter rail defeats the purpose, there’s always something happening in the Luxembourg Gardens, which now, more than ever, serve as a nucleus of Parisian life.

If you need a gentle reentry:  Francois Pinault’s long-awaited temple to contemporary art, the Bourse de Commerce, opened on May 22 just a few blocks north of the Louvre. Its current exhibition showcases works by Cindy Sherman, David Hammons, and Urs Fischer—whose nine monumental wax sculptures are like supersized candles that are slowly melting under an enormous glass dome.

Pair it with a visit to the Musée Carnavalet in the Marais, which traces the city’s history from prehistoric to current times. It’s Paris’s oldest museum but also it’s newest, having reopened a week after the Bourse following a four-year renovation. Among the highlights: a room of objects belonging to the literary giant Marcel Proust.

If you want to pretend the pandemic never happened:  Although all restrictions will lift on June 30, the government has yet to greenlight nightclubs. And while fashion shows are returning to a physical format—menswear fashion week will start on June 22, followed by Haute Couture week on July 5; the after-parties are still very much TBD.

Instead, the summer-long carnival known as Wonderland is coming to eastern Paris, allowing up to 1,000 people to simultaneously enjoy dance and yoga lessons, a skate ramp, a basketball court, and a petanque strip, as well as stand-up comedy shows and outdoor concerts.

How to Get Around

Biking is the new walking in Paris, thanks to a decision by the Mairie de Paris (city hall) to ban private car traffic on some major roads.

The Right Bank’s Rue de Rivoli, which connects the Place de la Concorde to the Bastille, is now essentially a cycling lane (nicknamed the “corona lane”). Tourists are able to rent bikes with the Velib app and get on one of the ubiquitous gray-and-green bicycles docked all across town.

“Paris will look at lot more different if you haven’t come since March 2020, thanks to the bike lanes and the terraces,’’ says Frederic Hocquard, who oversees tourism at the Mairie. “We’ve reorganized public space to make it more friendly and welcoming.’’

Parisians are also still commuting by bus, metro, tramway, and commuter trains. At rush hour, physical distancing isn’t really possible, but strict mask wearing is de rigueur; those who don’t comply face a €135 ($165) fine. Most drivers of taxis and ride-hailing service vehicles offer plexiglass barriers in their cars.

The Lingering Covid Etiquette

When shopping, it’s still very common to see customers queuing up outside stores and waiting for a nod from a sales assistant to get in.

Masks are still mandatory, indoors and outdoors, except when eating, drinking, working out, or smoking. That said, Parisians are increasingly  relaxed about lowering their face coverings when walking around town, especially as temperatures rise. Those who don’t respect the 11 p.m. curfew risk a €135 fine.

And while the French were reknowned for their two kisses on the cheeks—aka “la bise”—that habit has all but disappeared. For now, at least, they’re opting for elbow or fist bumps.

Airlines Demand Faster Action to Restore Trans-Atlantic Links - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 10, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Airlines hit hard by Covid sought swifter moves to loosen restrictions on travel following pledges from the U.S. and the U.K. to reopen lucrative trans-Atlantic links.

Carriers welcomed an agreement by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to create a joint task force to explore options for resuming travel, but are pushing for their administrations to go further than the tentative gesture.

Vaccinated people ought to be able to travel, Luis Gallego, chief executive officer of British Airways parent IAG SA, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. Given progress with rolling out inoculations in both countries, “we don’t see why they have to have restrictions between the U.S. and the U.K.”

The North Atlantic corridor joining the U.S. with Europe is the single most profitable corner of the global aviation market, filled with premium travelers paying extra for first-class and business-class seats. The business pumps billions of dollars into the British and American economies and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to Drew Crawley, chief commercial officer of American Express Global Business Travel.

“The continued closure of these vital routes for more than 400 days has been detrimental to economic recovery in both countries, contributing to lost job hours and hindering innovation and solutions to our shared challenges,” Crawley said.

Throughout the pandemic, carriers on both sides of the Atlantic have lobbied forcefully for a relaxation of travel curbs, a call they renewed this week, just ahead of the G7 summit meeting in Cornwall. Along with their British counterparts, the participants included Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. and discounter JetBlue Airways Corp., which intends to start services to London later this year.

But setbacks with the virus have repeatedly frustrated those efforts. Most recently, the Delta variant first identified in India has quickly driven up infection rates in the U.K.

Vaccinated Europeans Book Holidays While Brits Decry U-Turn

That’s forced U.K. officials into retreat on travel at the start of the usually busy summer season, when airlines were hoping for an acceleration.

The lack of a clear time frame for the U.S.-U.K. task force “again falls short of providing airlines, businesses and consumers with much-needed certainty,” said Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. CEO Shai Weiss.

Air Canada to recall 2,600 workers as demand for travel bounces back - THE CANADIAN PRESS

JUNE 10, 2021

MONTREAL — Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees as it prepares for an increase in demand for flights.

The airline says the employees being recalled will include various roles, including flight attendants, and will be brought back in stages in June and July.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says the airline moved to recall the workers because it is seeing vaccinations increase, COVID-19 cases decline and governments ease restrictions.

He says the recall is part of its efforts to rebuild the airline's network and meet the expected demand for travel.

Air Canada laid off tens of thousands of workers as the pandemic swept Canada, including 16,500 last March, when the crisis began.

In April, the airline reached an agreement with Ottawa for a $5.9-billion aid package.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)

The Canadian Press

Ottawa to loosen quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated Canadians - YAHOO FINANCE

JUNE 10, 2021

BY  Alicja Siekierska

The federal government says it will soon loosen quarantine restrictions for Canadian travellers returning to the country, but only if they have been fully vaccinated. 

The government announced on Wednesday that Canadian citizens, permanent residents and essential workers who have been fully vaccinated at least 14-days before departure will be able to enter the country without having to quarantine in a government-authorized hotel for up to three days. Travellers will still have to produce a negative PCR test result before departure, and will also be tested upon arrival. They will also have to have a "suitable quarantine plan" as they wait for their airport test results. Only those who received COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada – meaning AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer – will be considered fully vaccinated. 

The government said it is expecting the changes to go into effect "at the beginning of July."

Health Minister Patty Hajdu called the rule change "the first step" in the government's plan to reopening its borders. 

"We'll take a phased approach towards adjusting current border measures with the health and safety of Canadians being our first priority," Hajdu said at a press conference Wednesday. 

"The difference is that fully vaccinated travellers with a right of entry to Canada will be able to forgo staying in a government-approved or government-authorized hotel until such time that they receive their negative Day 1 test. That's the big change." 

Canadian airlines have been pushing the federal government to eliminate its quarantine restrictions, rules that Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau previously called "ineffective."

In a statement, the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) says the move to ease quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers "falls far short" of recommendations that the group hoped would be implemented. In late May, the Health Canada Advisory Panel released a report on border measures, recommending that hotel quarantine measures be discontinued entirely and quarantine rules for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers be reduced alongside the use of testing. 

"Today's announcement by federal Ministers did not address any of those measures nor provide a timeframe in which the government will move forward on the recommendations." 

NACC president and chief executive officer Mike McNaney is calling on the government to introduce a clear restart plan for international travel. 

"As vaccination programs increase rapidly and jurisdictions around the world provide consumers and industry with a clear path forward, we must do the same," McNaney said. 

"Countries that successfully implement a science and data-based testing and quarantine policy will not only protect public health, they will also drive their overall domestic recovery and take jobs and investment from countries that do not. We must get moving now." 

The federal government introduced a mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers coming to Canada by air in February. Under the plan, non-essential travellers are required to take a COVID-19 test when they arrive, before leaving the airport. They are then required to go to a quarantine hotel, at their own expense, until their test is returned, for up to three days. 

Alicja Siekiersk

African airlines see rising demand as global air cargo surges by 12% - THE GUARDIAN

JUNE 12, 2021

New data for the global air cargo market has shown a general increase in demand for African airlines among the top gainers.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) cargo market report for April 2021, released yesterday, showed that demand continued to outperform pre-COVID levels (April 2019) with demand up 12 per cent.

Global demand was up 12 per cent compared to April 2019 and 7.8 per cent compared to March 2021. Seasonally adjusted demand is now five per cent higher than the pre-crisis August 2018 peak.

North American carriers contributing 7.5 percentage points to the 12 per cent growth rate in April led the strong performance. Airlines in all other regions except for Latin America also supported the growth.

African airlines’ cargo demand in April increased 30.6 per cent compared to the same month in 2019, the strongest of all regions and the fourth consecutive month of growth at or above 25 per cent compared to 2019. Robust expansion on the Asia-Africa trade lanes contributed to the strong growth. April international capacity increased by 0.6 per cent compared to April 2019.

Global capacity remains 9.7 per cent below pre-COVID-19 levels (April 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft. Airlines continue to use dedicated freighters to plug the lack of available belly capacity. International capacity from dedicated freighters rose 26.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, while belly-cargo capacity dropped by 38.5 per cent.

Competitiveness against sea shipping has improved. Air cargo rates have stabilised since reaching a peak in April 2020, while shipping container rates have remained relatively high in comparison.

Meanwhile, longer supplier delivery times as economic activity ramps up make the speed of air cargo an advantage by recovering some of the time lost in the production process.

IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said Air cargo continues to be the good news story for the air transport sector.

“Demand is up 12 per cent on pre-crisis levels and yields are solid. Some regions are outperforming the global trend, most notably carriers in North America, the Middle East and Africa. Strong air cargo performance, however, is not universal. The recovery for carriers in the Latin American region, for example, is stalled.”

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo increase 9.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. This was a significant improvement in performance compared to the previous month. International capacity remained constrained in the region, down 18.7 per cent versus April 2019. As was also the case in March, the region’s airlines reported the highest international load factor at 77.5 per cent.

North American carriers posted a 25.6 per cent increase in international demand in April 2021 compared to April 2019. This strong performance reflects the appetite of US consumers for products manufactured in Asia. North American carriers have also been able to grow their market share, notably on routes between North and South America, owing to the large freighter fleets they have available. International capacity grew by 5.5 per cent compared with April 2019.

European carriers posted an 11.4 per cent increase in demand in April 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. This was a significant improvement compared to the previous month. Improved operating conditions and recovering export orders contributed to the positive performance. International capacity decreased by 17.5 per cent in April 2021 versus April 2019, remaining unchanged from the previous month.

Latin American carriers reported a decline of 32.7 per cent in international cargo volumes in April compared to the 2019 period. This was the worst performance of all regions and a decline in performance compared to the previous month. Drivers of air cargo demand in Latin America remain relatively less supportive than in the other regions, and airlines in the region have lost market share to other carriers due to financial restructuring. Despite this, volumes on several routes in the region (such as Europe and Central America, and North and South America) performed well. International capacity decreased 52.5 per cent compared with April 2019.

2021 Hajj: Saudi Arabia bars travellers from Nigeria, others over COVID-19 - PUNCH

JUNE 12, 2021

BY Sodiq Oyeleke with agency report


Saudi Arabia has barred travellers from Nigeria and other countries from performing 2021 Hajj over coronavirus concerns.

This is as Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it will allow 60,000 vaccinated residents of the kingdom to perform the annual hajj.

The hajj ministry said this year’s pilgrimage would be “open for nationals and residents of the kingdom, limited to 60,000 pilgrims”, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

With this, travellers from Nigeria have been barred from performing hajj for the second time in a row.

Last year, the kingdom also hosted downscaled hajj amid the coronavirus pandemic, preventing thousands of Nigerian pilgrims from participating.

The pilgrimage, scheduled to be held at the end of July, would be limited to those who have been vaccinated and are below 65 years of age with no chronic illnesses, it said.

The hajj – a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime — typically packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites and could be a major source of contagion.

Only up to 10,000 Muslims took part in last year, a far cry from the 2.5 million who participated in the five-day annual pilgrimage in 2019.

In a relaxation of coronavirus curbs last October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the first time in seven months and partially resumed the all-year-round umrah pilgrimage.

The limit on umrah pilgrims is 20,000 a day, with a total of 60,000 worshippers allowed to perform daily prayers at the mosque.

The umrah usually attracts millions of Muslims from across the globe each year. Authorities said the umrah would be allowed to return to full capacity once the threat of the pandemic has abated.

The revered Black Stone in the Kaaba – which is customary but not mandatory to touch during the pilgrimage – remains out of reach.

“In light of what the whole world is witnessing with the coronavirus pandemic… and the emergence of new variants, the relevant authorities have continued to monitor the global health situation,” the hajj ministry said Saturday.

“Considering the large crowds that perform hajj, spending long periods of time in multiple and specific places… required the highest levels of health precautions,” it added in the statement carried by SPA.

A scaled-down hajj represents a major loss of revenue for the kingdom, already reeling from the twin shocks of the virus-induced slowdown and a plunge in oil prices.

The hajj and the year-round umrah pilgrimages together rake in some $12 billion (10.3 billion euros) annually.

Last year, the foreign press were barred from the hajj, usually a huge global media event.

Saudi Arabia has so far recorded more than 460,000 coronavirus infections, including 7,536 deaths.

The health ministry says it has administered more than 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses, in a country with a population of over 34 million.

Hosting the hajj is a matter of prestige for Saudi rulers, for whom the custodianship of Islam’s holiest sites is their most powerful source of political legitimacy.

But a series of deadly disasters over the years, including a 2015 stampede that killed up to 2,300 worshippers, has prompted criticism of the kingdom’s management of the pilgrimage.

Heathrow passenger numbers 90% below pre-pandemic levels - P.A.MEDIA

JUNE 12, 2021

Heathrow’s passenger numbers are languishing at 90% below pre-pandemic levels, the UK’s busiest airport said.

Just 675,000 people travelled through the west London airport last month, compared with 6,769,000 in May 2019.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “With the G7 starting today, ministers have a chance to kick-start the green global recovery by agreeing how to resume international travel safely and setting a mandate for sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) that will decarbonise aviation.

“This is the time for them to show global leadership.”

Heathrow criticised “ministers’ refusal to provide transparency” on the data behind decision on the green travel list.

It urged the Government to “rely on the science and restart travel to low-risk countries like the US” at the next review later this month.

SAFs are produced using materials other than crude oil, and produces around 70% less carbon emissions.

They are more expensive than traditional fuel, but it is hoped technological advances will reduce costs.

Heathrow took its first delivery of SAF last week, but stated that “the right Government policies” are needed to build confidence in demand.

It wants world leaders at the G7 to commit to requiring 10% SAF use by 2030, growing to at least 50% by 2050, with incentives similar to those use to kick start other low-carbon projects.

Nigerian Networking: A Look At The Country’s International Routes - SIMPLY FLYING

JUNE 12, 2021

by James Pearson

With over 210 million people, Nigeria is overwhelmingly Africa’s most populous country and the world’s seventh-largest. It had 4.63 million international passengers in 2019, its highest to date. In a week next month, seven airlines will fly long-haul from Nigeria with 11 bookable routes. Emirates will be the largest carrier with service to both Lagos and Abuja.

Delta serves Lagos from both Atlanta and New York JFK. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Just over one-quarter (26%) of Nigeria’s air passengers flew internationally in 2019, an examination of data from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria reveals. There were some 4.63 million international passengers, the highest year to date in what has been a tumultuous decade.

In 2019, some 3.20 million of Nigeria’s international passengers were to/from Lagos. Source: FAAN.

Seven long-haul airlines

Nigeria has seven airlines with bookable long-haul service in the week beginning July 12th, as follows, with ‘long-haul’ here meaning 3,000 miles or more. No Nigerian airline features, although Air Peace was due to operate a twice-weekly Lagos-Sharjah service using its sole B777-200ER, but it isn’t available for booking. It is quite a contrast to Ethiopian Airlines.

  1. Emirates: 9,900 round-trip seats
  2. Qatar Airways: 8,600
  3. Lufthansa: 7,100
  4. Delta: 5,100
  5. British Airways: 4,100
  6. Virgin Atlantic Airways: 3,700
  7. KLM: 2,700

Emirates is Nigeria’s largest long-haul airline this summer week. This is the result of 14-weekly departures services by the B777-300ER in a three-class layout. Qatar Airways, meanwhile, also has 14-weekly, of which three continue from Lagos to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, before returning to Doha via Lagos. Delta, meanwhile, serves the US 12-weekly.

While British Airways departs Lagos late at night, Virgin Atlantic flies northbound during the day. VS412 departs Lagos at 09:30 and arrives in Heathrow at 16:20, with a block time of six hours and 50 minutes. Photo: Getty Images

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

11 bookable long-haul routes

There are 11 bookable long-haul routes in this particular week, as shown below, involving three Nigerian cities (Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt). It is obviously hugely about Lagos, Africa’s largest city, which has nearly nine in ten of the country’s international seats (86%). 

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  1. British Airways: Lagos-London Heathrow; seven-weekly departures; B777-300ER
  2. Delta: Lagos-Atlanta; seven-weekly; A330-200
  3. Delta: Lagos-New York JFK; four-weekly; A330-200
  4. Emirates: Lagos-Dubai; seven-weekly; B777-300ER
  5. Emirates: Abuja-Dubai; seven-weekly; B777-300ER
  6. Lufthansa: Lagos-Frankfurt; six-weekly; A330-300
  7. Lufthansa: Port Harcourt-Abuja-Frankfurt; seven-weekly; A330-300 (via Abuja in both directions)
  8. KLM: Lagos-Amsterdam; five-weekly; A330-200/-300
  9. Qatar Airways: Lagos-Doha; 11-weekly by the B787-8 (terminating in Lagos)
  10. Qatar Airways: Abuja-Lagos-Doha; three-weekly; B787-8 (via Lagos in both directions)
  11. Virgin Atlantic: Lagos-Heathrow; seven-weekly; A330-300
Some seven long-haul destinations are served from Nigeria in mid-July. Note that one of Lufthansa’s six-weekly Frankfurt-Lagos services continues to Malabo before returning via Lagos. Image: GCMap.

Delta’s Lagos operation

Delta inaugurated Atlanta-Lagos in 2007 using the B767-300ER. It was followed in 2010 by JFK, although the route operated for just three months, an examination of Ciricum’s data shows. Lagos-JFK returned in 2018, and both it and Atlanta are now served using 234-seat A330-200s, equipped with 34 Delta One seats.

Delta uses 234-seat A330-200s to Nigeria. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia.

Looking back to 2019, Delta had an 86% seat load factor (SLF) to JFK while it was 88% to Atlanta, according to the US’ T-100. Of course, the one measure that really matters is passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM), but SLF is nonetheless insightful to a point.

Approximately 81,000 round-trip passengers transited Atlanta, a hub that Simple Flying explored in March, with Baltimore the largest market, based on booking data from OAG Traffic Analyzer. Maryland has the US’ second-largest population of Nigerian Americans, after Texas, which is suggested below.

  1. Baltimore
  2. Dallas Fort Worth
  3. Washington Dulles
  4. Toronto
  5. Houston
  6. Chicago O’Hare
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Philadelphia
  9. JFK
  10. Orlando

Saudi Arabia Bars Foreigners from Hajj, Limits Participation to 60,000 Residents - THISDAY

JUNE 12, 2021

Saudi Arabia has said it will limit registration for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage to citizens and residents of the Kingdom.

The Saudi government hinged its decision on the coronavirus pandemic, adding that a total of 60,000 pilgrims who are citizens and residents will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage this year.

By this announcement, Nigerians and other intending pilgrims from other countries will not be participating in this year’s Hajj.

A statement by the Ministries of Health and Hajj Saturday said the decision was “based on the Kingdom’s constant keenness to enable the guests and visitors at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque to perform the rituals of Hajj and Umrah.”

Noting that, “The Kingdom puts human health and safety first,” the ministry said those wishing to perform Hajj must be free of any chronic diseases, and to be within the ages from 18 to 65 years for those vaccinated against the virus according to the Kingdom’s vaccination measures.

Saudi authorities also said Hajj pilgrims should be fully vaccinated, or those who took one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before, or those who are vaccinated after recovering from coronavirus infection.

Arab News noted that a deputy to the Hajj minister said that Saudi Arabia found great understanding from Muslim countries over the decision to limit this year’s pilgrimage participants.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to limit Hajj2021 to pilgrims from within the Kingdom.

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