Bangladesh extends Hajj registration deadline to April 16 amid coronavirus uncertainty

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The government has extended the registration deadline for Hajj pilgrims to Apr 16 as uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

The previous deadline was due to expire on Wednesday.

Many pilgrims have submitted their passports to register for the Hajj programme in 2020 but could not draw the registration voucher from banks due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown, according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

As a result, the deadline has been extended for their convenience, said the ministry.

“Many pilgrims could not register as they failed to deposit the money. Under the circumstances, the deadline for registration of those willing to undertake Hajj pilgrimage in 2020 under government and private management has been extended to Apr 16.”

The opportunity will be available for all who have already pre-registered under the government programme and those looking to register now, the ministry said.

People with pre-registration numbers of upto 672,199 under the private programme will be registered based on the  ‘first come first served’ system.

The prospective pilgrims are required to submit their passports to the authorised registration centre by Apr 15 for verification.

The government introduced three Hajj packages this year, with the first one costing Tk 425,000 and the second one Tk 360,000. The third Hajj package under government supervision will cost Tk 315,000.

Pilgrims taking the Hajj package under private management must make an initial deposit of Tk 151, 990 to cover air fares and service charges but have been advised by the ministry not to pay anything more than that.

The Hajj will be performed on July 30, depending on the sighting of the moon. The Hajj flights could start taking off from Jun 23 depending on the overall situation by then, according to State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah.

Saudi Arabia has already  suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage over fears of the new coronavirus spreading to Islam’s holiest cities in an unprecedented move that cast doubts over the annual Hajj.

The kingdom has also halted all international passenger flights indefinitely and last week blocked entry and exit to several cities, including Mecca and Medina.

Under the circumstances, it has asked Muslim pilgrims to wait until there is more clarity about the coronavirus pandemic before planning to attend the annual Hajj.

Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world usually flock to the cities of Makkah and Madinah for the week-long ritual scheduled to begin in late July. The pilgrimage is also a significant source of income for the kingdom.

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