July 12, 2020

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Saudi Arabia to maintain ‘very limited’ hajj due to virus

FILE - In this March 7, 2020 file photo, workers disinfect the ground around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia after authorities emptied Islam's holiest site for sterilization over fears of the new coronavirus. Saudi Arabia said Tuesday, June 22, 2020 this year’s hajj will not be canceled, but that due to the coronavirus only “very limited numbers” of people will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage that traditionally draws around 2 million people from around the world to Mecca once a year. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia reported Tuesday that since of the coronavirus only “very constrained numbers” of men and women will be authorized to perform the once-a-year hajj pilgrimage that typically attracts all over 2 million folks from about the environment.

The kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj explained only persons of several nationalities currently residing in the region would be allowed to execute the large pilgrimage, which is set to begin this calendar year at the conclusion of July.

The federal government did not specify how quite a few persons would be permitted to take component.

Saudi Arabia stated its selection to substantially limit the selection of pilgrims was manufactured due to the deficiency of an available vaccine for the virus or a heal for these infected, as properly as the risks affiliated with massive gatherings of people today.

“This choice was taken to be certain hajj is executed in a harmless way from a public well being point of view,” the govt assertion stated.

The virus results in delicate to moderate indicators in most people today, who recover inside a number of weeks. But it is really contagious and can cause critical illness or loss of life, significantly in more mature individuals or all those with fundamental health challenges.

All able-bodied Muslims are demanded to carry out the hajj pilgrimage after in their life time. The pilgrimage facilities about five intensive times of worship and rituals in Mecca, on the other hand pilgrims typically start off arriving to Saudi Arabia by its main gateway metropolis of Jiddah months and even months in progress.

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The kingdom has a person of the highest premiums of coronavirus infections in the Middle East, with a lot more than 161,000 full verified scenarios and 1,307 fatalities.

Saudi Arabia experienced already suspended the smaller sized 12 months-spherical umrah pilgrimage earlier this yr and closed the Grand Mosque in Mecca, home to Islam’s holiest website, to the public. The metropolis of Mecca was also underneath a rigorous lockdown for all over two months.

Though Saudi Arabia has lifted some limits in modern times about the region, the umrah proceeds to be suspended and its borders continue being shut to visitors and vacationers.

Indonesia and Malaysia, which merged send out about a quarter-million Muslims to the hajj every single calendar year, had now declared they would not be sending their citizens to the pilgrimage this year.