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Muslims Pilgrims Return to Mecca After Saudi Arabia Eases Coronavirus Restrictions

Muslims Pilgrims Return to Mecca After Saudi Arabia Eases Coronavirus Restrictions


(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) — A really small, restricted variety of folks on Sunday donned the white terrycloth garment symbolic of the Muslim pilgrimage and circled Islam’s holiest web site in Mecca, after Saudi Arabia lifted coronavirus restrictions that had been in place for months.

The dominion had taken the uncommon step in early March of suspending the smaller “umrah” pilgrimage, which will be taken at any time of the 12 months and attracts thousands and thousands from the world over, because the coronavirus morphed into a world pandemic and prompted international locations to impose lockdowns and curfews to decelerate transmission.

However as nations start to ease these restrictions, the Saudi authorities on Sunday began permitting a most of 6,000 pilgrims a day to enter the sprawling Grand Mosque in Mecca. Solely Saudi residents and residents will probably be permitted to enter the mosque throughout this primary section of reopening, and every individual has as much as three hours to finish the pilgrimage.

The Grand Mosque, which is being sterilized and cleaned a number of instances a day, homes the cube-shaped Kaaba that observant Muslims pray towards 5 instances a day.

Earlier than guests can enter the mosque to wish or carry out the umrah, they’ve to use and reserve a selected time and date by way of a web based utility to keep away from crowding and keep social distancing. Guests can even choose their technique of transportation and assembly factors by way of the app .

State TV confirmed on Sunday what seemed to be fewer than 50 folks circling the Kaaba on the identical time and strolling a number of meters (ft) aside. Usually, the mosque could be full of worshippers from around the globe crowded shoulder-to-shoulder always of the day and evening.

The second section for loosening restrictions on the Grand Mosque comes into impact on Oct. 18, permitting a most of 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 for prayer from amongst residents and residents primarily based on allotted instances by way of the app.

Muslim vacationers from exterior Saudi Arabia could possibly be allowed to carry out the umrah pilgrimage as early as Nov. 1, the Inside Ministry has stated. Saudi Arabia just lately started easing some restrictions on worldwide flights for the primary time since March.

The dominion held a dramatically downsized, symbolic hajj pilgrimage in July resulting from issues that it might simply have develop into a world super-spreader occasion for the virus. Pilgrims have been chosen after making use of by way of a web based portal and all have been residents or residents of Saudi Arabia. Reasonably than the greater than 2 million pilgrims the dominion hosts for the annual occasion, as little as 1,000 took half after being examined for the virus and quarantined.

Regardless of taking early and sweeping measures to comprise the virus, Saudi Arabia has recorded almost 336,000 circumstances, together with 4,850 deaths.