Saudi Ara­bia bars in­ter­na­tional pil­grims for Hajj this year, govt says

Fiji Sun - - WORLD NEWS -

Riyadh: Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced on Mon­day that only a lim­ited num­ber of pil­grims will be al­lowed to per­form Hajj in the king­dom this sea­son over the coro­n­avirus con­cerns, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) re­ported.

The de­ci­sion was made given the in­crease in the num­ber of cases in most coun­tries and the risks of the virus spread in crowded gath­er­ings, the Min­istry of Hajj and Um­rah.

Saudi Ara­bia has so far reg­is­tered a to­tal of 161,005 COVID-19 in­fec­tions, with 54,523 ac­tive cases in­clud­ing 2,045 crit­i­cal ones.

An es­ti­mated two mil­lion peo­ple would oth­er­wise have vis­ited Mecca and Medina this sum­mer for the an­nual gath­er­ing. There had been fears the Hajj might be cancelled al­to­gether. In nor­mal times the pil­grim­age is one of the most sig­nif­i­cant mo­ments in the Mus­lim re­li­gious cal­en­dar. But only cit­i­zens from coun­tries around the world who are al­ready res­i­dent in Saudi Ara­bia will be al­lowed to at­tend this year.

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