The annual pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah has been allowed to take place but with new measures, including less worshippers than previous years, to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus
This year only 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom will participate, a tiny fraction of the 2.5million pilgrims from around the world that attended last year.
This year’s pilgrims were chosen through a lottery system organised by the Saudi government which left many people disappointed, but some successful applicants say they feel safer without the usual massive crowds.
‘There are no security-related concerns in this pilgrimage, but (downsizing) is to protect pilgrims from the danger of the pandemic,’ said Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, Saudi Arabia’s director of public security.
Pilgrims will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing during a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in the holy city of Makkah and Madinah and its surroundings in western Saudi Arabia.
Those selected to take part in the hajj were subject to temperature checks and placed in quarantine as they began trickling into Makkah at the weekend.