Level 1 - Practise health precautions (more details)
Original publication date: May 18, 2022
Updated: June 29, 2022
This year, the Saudi Arabia government will be allowing some international pilgrims to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage, between July 7 and 12, 2022.
Saudi Arabia has implemented guidelines and restrictions for pilgrims wishing to perform Hajj 2022. Visitors coming from abroad must register with the government of Saudi Arabia. Make sure you meet all requirements for travel to Saudi Arabia and participation in Hajj before leaving Canada.
Large crowds in small areas can increase your risk of getting sick or injured. Pilgrims performing the Hajj may be at risk of exposure to infectious diseases such as COVID-19, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), diphtheria, cholera, measles, and influenza.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is continuing to advise travellers to practise enhanced health precautions when travelling internationally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please read the COVID-19 and International Travel travel health notice.
Cases of MERS-CoV have been reported in Saudi Arabia and other countries, mostly located in the Arabian Peninsula.
There is currently an ongoing multi-country monkeypox outbreak. Large gatherings, such as the Hajj, that entail close, prolonged and frequent interactions among people, may present opportunities for the transmission of monkeypox virus. For more information, please read the Monkeypox: Advise for travellers travel health notice.
About the Hajj
The Hajj is the spiritual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest annual mass gathering in the world, with (pre-pandemic restrictions) over two million participants every year. The Hajj takes place from the 8th to the 12th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Before your trip
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.
- Discuss medications you may need for your travel.
- Complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada, at least 14 days before travelling.
- Make sure that your routine vaccinations and adult boosters are up-to-date.
- Seasonal influenza vaccine is strongly recommended for all pilgrims.
- Before travelling, an additional measles vaccination may be recommended.
Visit the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health website for health requirements and recommendations for travellers to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.
- All travellers for Hajj are required to have completed their COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine accredited by the Saudi Arabia government, and their age must not be older than 65 years.
- All travellers over 1 year of age are required to submit a valid vaccination certificate for the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (ACYW-135), administered no less than 10 days prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia.
- Proof of polio and yellow fever vaccination are required for travellers arriving from certain countries.
During your trip
Be aware of your surroundings. Hajj is one of the largest mass gatherings in the world.
- The risk of accidental injury increases in large crowds.
- Locate the exit routes and medical facilities.
- Avoid densely congested areas with limited emergency exits.
Protect yourself and others from the spread of germs and flu-like illnesses.
- All travellers arriving to Saudi Arabia must comply with local COVID-19 preventive regulations and procedures required by the Public Health Authority, available online. These regulations are continuously updated.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Keep a bottle with you when you travel.
- If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with your arm. If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
- Try to avoid contact with people who appear to be sick.
- Use only new razors for shaving. Choose a barber who uses disposable, single-use blades.
- Travellers can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food. Food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and MERS-CoV.
Protect yourself from MERS-CoV while you are travelling.
- Avoid close contact with camels.
- Avoid food that may be contaminated with animal secretions.
- Avoid raw or undercooked (rare) meat. Only eat foods that are well cooked and served hot.
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products such as raw milk.
- Avoid drinking camel urine (a practice associated with medicinal purposes in certain regions).
Avoid close contact with animals
- If you must visit a farm or market, make sure you practise good hygiene and wash your handsbefore and after contact with animals.
- Avoid contact with animals that appear to be sick.
- Depending on your planned activities, a health care professional might recommend getting vaccinated against rabies before you travel. If bitten or scratched, immediately clean the wound. Contact a health care professional or go to a hospital right away if you think you have been exposed to rabies.
Follow sun and heat safety tips. Heat-related illnesses and dehydration are common during the Hajj.
Drive with caution.
- The leading cause of death among international travellers is traffic accidents.
- Expect traffic congestion and road closures.
- Avoid driving on unfamiliar and/or rural roads, especially at night.
Visit the Government of Canada's Travel Advice and Advisories page for the most up-to-date information on laws and culture in Saudi Arabia.
Protect yourself from insect bites at all times.
Monitor your health.
- If you develop flu-like symptoms during the pilgrimage (fever, cough or shortness of breath) or other symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, report your symptoms to the medical staff accompanying your group or to the local health services.
Returning to Canada
Canadian entry requirements may change during your travel. Regularly review the entry requirements and exemptions for your situation.
If you feel sick or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 during your flight to Canada or upon arrival, you must inform the flight attendant or a Government of Canada screening or quarantine officer immediately.
- If you don't have symptoms but believe you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 or another illness, report this information to a screening or quarantine officer on arrival in Canada. This is required under the Quarantine Act. The screening or quarantine officer will provide instructions for you to follow.
Once in Canada, contact a health care professional if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, vomiting or diarrhea. Call ahead and tell them:
- your symptoms
- where you have been travelling
- whether you visited a health care facility while in Saudi Arabia
- whether you had close contact with animals, such as camels
Registration of Canadians Abroad
Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or at home, and to receive notifications of any new Travel Health Notices posted for your location.
- COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders
- Use ArriveCan to enter Canada
- Register with your arrival test provider
- Going out safely during COVID-19 (printable poster) - COVID-19: Prevention and risks
- Sickness or injury when travelling
- Travel Vaccinations
- Visiting friends and relatives abroad
- Travel health kit
- If you get sick after travelling_
- Mass Gatherings (large-scale events)
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