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Saudi Arabia limits Hajj to residents only

Ahmed Aiham
23 June 2020, MVT 16:47
(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 3, 2020 Muslim worshippers walk around the sacred Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest site, during the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. - Saudi Arabia is expected to scale back or call off this year's hajj pilgrimage for the first time in its modern history, a perilous decision as coronavirus cases spike. With the annual ritual in doubt, Muslim nations are pressing Riyadh to give its much-delayed decision on whether the hajj will go ahead as scheduled in late July. But as the kingdom negotiates a call fraught with political and economic risks in a tinderbox region, time is running out to organise logistics for one of the world's largest mass gatherings. PHOTO: AFP
Ahmed Aiham
23 June 2020, MVT 16:47

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Monday, announced its decision to restrict the Islamic pilgrimage 'Hajj' to those residing within the country, over the "lack of available vaccinations" as well as "a cure for those infected by COVID-19 around the world".

According to Saudi's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the decision is intended to ensure that Hajj is performed in a safe manner, in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

As such, the ministry chooses to prioritize preserving human lives, while observing preventative measures to protect from the risks associated with the pandemic.

A must for able-bodied and financially capable followers at least once in their lifetime, Hajj represents a major source of community transmission for various flu, as millions of pilgrims flock into congested religious sites each year.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia reported roughly 2.5 million pilgrims taking part in the annual rites.

As a result of the nominal Hajj, it is expected that a significant loss in revenue will be recorded by the petro-state already plagued by a global plunge in oil prices.

At present, Saudi Arabia records a total of 161,005 confirmed cases, out of which 54,523 are active cases of COVID-19. The country records 105,175 recoveries and 1,307 fatalities so far.

Saudi Arabia has reported the largest amount of infections within the Middle East.

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