Saudi Arabia prepares for ‘exceptional Hajj’ due to COVID-19

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Saudi Arabia has put in place “integrated preparations” for providing safe and smooth services to pilgrims performing this year’s Hajj, Gulf News reported a Saudi government minister saying.

According to the report, limited numbers of around 10,000 pilgrims from within Saudi Arabia will attend the Hajj next week to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“All preparations are integrated in the form of a comprehensive executive plan joined by all security, health and service agencies,” Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Mohammed Saleh Bin Taher, said after touring facilities set up to accommodate pilgrims in the holy city.

In Saudi Arabia, the lesser pilgrimage, Umrah, was also suspended this year and the sanctuaries within the two holy cities were restricted to officials, workers and cleaners.

READ: Saudi writer dies from COVID-19 shortly after release from prison

Last month, Saudi Arabia announced that it would ban international pilgrims from the Hajj this year, implementing the long-expected decision in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The country also decided to limit the number of domestic pilgrims attending the Hajj.

The kingdom has registered more than 255,000 cases of COVID-19 including 2,557 deaths.

Middle East Monitor

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