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Coronavirus: A rolled-up Hajj pilgrimage should begin in Saudi Arabia



Workers clean while several pilgrims pray in front of the Kaaba, the holiest shrine of Islam, at the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Saudi Arabia, Mecca, July 27, 2020

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AFP

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The Grand Mosque in Mecca was preparing to greet the pilgrims this year

The annual Hajj pilgrimage, which is usually conducted by Muslims around the world, begins on Wednesday, declining sharply due to the coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia has banned international visitors from traveling to Mecca to try to curb the pandemic.

This year, only citizens of other countries who already live in the kingdom can participate.

About two million people usually take part, but no more than 1

0,000 are expected this year.

Those who were allowed to take part in this year’s Hajj underwent a temperature test and viral tests when they began arriving in Mecca over the weekend, according to AFP.

Supporters should also be quarantined before and after the pilgrimage, according to AFP.

In an interview with Saudi-funded television earlier this week, Pilgrimage Minister Mohammed Saleh Binte said pilgrims were quarantined in their homes until the next four days of quarantine in Mecca hotels.

Among those who participate, 30% are considered citizens of Saudi Arabia, and the rest are not Saudis living in the kingdom.

The kingdom has recorded more than 270,000 cases with nearly 3,000 deaths, one of the largest outbreaks in the Middle East.

Last month, the country only lifted the nationwide closure. Strict restrictions on controlling the spread of infections came into force in March, including a round-the-clock curfew in most cities and towns.

What is Hajj?

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Media headlineMuslims from all over the world celebrate Hajj every year in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Pilgrimage at least once is one of the Five Pillars of Islam – the five obligations that every Muslim who is healthy and can afford to live a good and responsible life according to Islam must fulfill.

Pilgrims gather in Mecca to stand in front of a building known as the Kaaba, praising Allah (God) together.

They perform other worship, renewing their sense of purpose in the world.



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