By Ivan Mwine
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have issued new stringent regulations for all Muslims who plan to travel to Mecca for Hijja.
According to credible sources some of the new regulations include the banning of pilgrims aged 65 and above from travelling to Mecca.
The decision, according to sources, was taken after authorities observed that since these people are of advanced age, many of them usually die as a result of being trampled down during a ritual known as Tawaf, which involved circling the Kaaba seven times.
There is also another ritual during pilgrimage on the two hills called Safah and Marwa and authorities observe that elderly people have also been dying during that ritual of walking up and down those hills, reason why they want the rituals to be done by more energetic pilgrims.
The authorities also banned children below 15 years of age from making the pilgrimage to Mecca because there are wealthy Muslims who had made it a habit to go to for Hijja with their children who cause unnecessary crowding, some get lost in the throngs of pilgrims while others end up dying.
It is not clear whether the ban will continue or its only for this year although it should be noted that it not only affects Ugandans but also Muslims across the world.
We have since established that the new regulations are also aimed at curbing the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic during the time pilgrims will be in Mecca for Hijja.