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India Mecca: minimum pilgrimage because of Covid-19

09:30  02 august  2020
09:30  02 august  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

Saudi Arabia is preparing for a very small pilgrimage

 Saudi Arabia is preparing for a very small pilgrimage © Provided by Le Point Saudi Arabia is preparing to welcome the great Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca on Wednesday, but with a very small number of faithful this year in due to the coronavirus pandemic, a first in modern history. Only 10,000 Saudis and foreign residents of the kingdom are allowed this year to perform the hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. Some 2.5 million pilgrims made the great pilgrimage last year, many of them coming from abroad as every year.

Pilgrimage in Mecca during COVID - 19 OC (i.redd.it). submitted 2 hours ago by BS-O-Meter.

The second day of the Hajj pilgrimage is underway in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, July 30, amid severe restrictions in light of the COVID - 19 epidemic. On this

A Mina, près de la ville sainte de La Mecque, Arabie saoudite le 1er août 2020. © Saudi Press Agency / Handout via REUTERS In Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia on August 1, 2020.

The great pilgrimage of Muslims, the Hajj, begins in Mecca in a new context. While the religious gathering gathered last year 2.5 million faithful - the vast majority of them from abroad - only the faithful living in Saudi Arabia will participate this year with 70% foreigners and 30% Saudis . In question, the pandemic of the new coronavirus because Saudi Arabia is the Arab country of the Gulf most affected by the disease.

From our correspondent in the Gulf, Nicolas Keraudren

Despite the resignation, the disappointment is great in Saudi Arabia. Many Saudi citizens and foreign residents of the Kingdom still had hopes of participating in this limited edition Hajj.

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Pilgrimage travellers seated on a bus at King Abdulaziz International Airport with social distancing measures observed amid pandemicSaudi Ministry of Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, as they observe social distancing to protect themselves against COVID - 19 in

Salim Asani is one of them. This 40-year-old French national living in Riyadh had indeed applied online. “There was a specific portal for this year where we submitted our ID and then some authentication information like first and last names etc.,” he explains. I had therefore submitted an application while hoping that my wife would be selected because she had never been there. So I could have been the de facto guide. It’s a big disappointment. "

The Saudi authorities claim to have conducted the selection process in full transparency. The main criterion was the health of the participants. “There were certainly also selection criteria such as age,” continues Salim. People who work in the medical sector have certainly been given priority as well. Personally, I don't know of anyone who has been accepted. The colleagues, the neighbors, in my circle nobody was accepted.

The selected pilgrims were tested before their arrival in Mecca and will be placed in quarantine after the end of the ritual.

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