Pilgrims return to Mecca as Saudi eases virus restrictions

2020/10 04 07:10

By: AP | Riyadh |

Up to date: October four, 2020 1:10:04 pm

Mecca, Mecca Medina, Mecca pilgrims, Mecca pilgrims return, Mecca open, Haj pilgrimage, Haj pilgrim, World news, Indian ExpressThe primary group of Muslims, allowed within the mosque compound by appointment, observe social distancing, as they carry out Umrah within the Grand Mosque, after Saudi authorities ease coronavirus illness (COVID-19) restrictions, within the holy metropolis of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, October three, 2020. Saudi Press Company/Handout through REUTERS

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

The dominion had taken the uncommon step of suspending the smaller “umrah” pilgrimage that attracts thousands and thousands year-round from internationally in early March because the coronavirus morphed into a worldwide 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 part 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 occasions a day, homes the cube-shaped Kaaba that observant Muslims pray towards 5 occasions 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 a web-based utility to keep away from crowding and keep social distancing. Guests may also choose through the app their technique of transportation and assembly factors.

State TV confirmed on Sunday what gave the impression to be fewer than 50 individuals circling the Kaaba on the identical time and strolling a number of metres (toes) aside. Sometimes, the mosque could be full of worshippers from all over the world crowded shoulder-to-shoulder always of the day and evening.

The second part for loosening restrictions on the Grand Mosque comes into impact on October 18, permitting a most of 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 for prayer from amongst residents and residents based mostly on allotted occasions through the app.

Muslim travellers from outdoors Saudi Arabia could possibly be allowed to carry out the umrah pilgrimage as early as November 1, the Inside Ministry has mentioned. Saudi Arabia 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 attributable to issues that it might simply have turn into a worldwide super-spreader occasion for the virus. Pilgrims had been chosen after making use of by a web-based portal and all had been residents or residents of Saudi Arabia.

Reasonably than the greater than two 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 practically 336,000 instances, together with four,850 deaths.

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