The United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash welcomed Saudi Arabia's decision to open the Islamic pilgramge of Hajj on a limited capacity on Wednesday.

The Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, will only welcome a “limited number” of people this year, Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said on Monday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The UAE's Gargrash praised Saudi Arabia's plan on Twitter and said it balanced safety and religious rites.

"We praise the action take by Saudi Arabia [with regards to hajj]. The decision balanced between not stopping the religious rites and safeguarding people’s lives, amidst the coronavirus outbreak," Gargash tweeted on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia has outlined eight protocols to limit the spread of infection among pilgrims this year.

Here are the protocols:

  1. The number of Muslims allowed to perform the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage may be around 1,000.
  2. All pilgrims will be tested before they reach the holy sites.
  3. Only Muslims under the age of 65 will be allowed to perform Hajj this year.
  4. All pilgrims will be asked to self-quarantine after they complete the Hajj rituals.
  5. All workers and volunteers will be tested before the Hajj pilgrimage begins.
  6. The health status of all pilgrims will be monitored daily.
  7. A hospital has been prepared for any emergency that occurs during the pilgrimage.
  8. Social distancing measures will be enforced.