Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Immunised pilgrims gather for haj as COVID restrictions limit numbers

CoronavirusJul 18, 2021 10:16PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
5/5 © Reuters. Pigeons are seen flying as a man walks towards the Grand Mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 17, 2021. Saudi Ministry of Media/Handout via REUTERS 2/5

MECCA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Muslim pilgrims vaccinated against COVID-19 gathered on Sunday for the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, which has barred worshippers from abroad for a second year running due to the pandemic and has also restricted entry from inside the kingdom.

Clad in white and carrying umbrellas against the blistering summer sun, 60,000 Saudi citizens and residents are performing the rite, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, compared with some 2.5 million in 2019.

"I ask God to end the coronavirus, it made us very scared and made the situation very difficult," said Palestinian pilgrim Hassan Jabari.

Saudi Arabia, which last year allowed a few thousand to perform the haj, is home to Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, and the country strives to ensure a peaceful haj, which has been marred in the past by deadly stampedes, fires and riots.

With the coronavirus the main concern this year, authorities have restricted access to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunised against the virus and do not suffer from chronic diseases.

Robots are being used to disinfect the Grand Mosque in Mecca and its courtyard and also to distribute bottles of zamzam water, pumped from a holy well in Mecca, to reduce human interaction and ensure physical distancing.

Thermal cameras at entrances to the Grand Mosque monitor people's temperatures. Around 3,000 electric carts have been provided for pilgrims, who also wear electronic identification bracelets connected to GPS.

Small groups of pilgrims wearing masks have since Saturday been circling the Kaaba - a stone structure that is the most sacred in Islam and the direction which Muslims face to pray - as health professionals monitor their movements.

The pilgrims then made their way to Mina, 7 km northeast of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, where they will spend the day in prayer before heading to Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammad gave his last sermon.

Around 500 health volunteers are available to offer medical assistance and 62 screens were installed to broadcast awareness messages in different languages.

Over the years, the kingdom has spent billions of dollars on making one of the world's biggest religious gatherings more secure. It is a major revenue earner for Saudi Arabia from worshippers' lodging, transport, fees and gifts.

Immunised pilgrims gather for haj as COVID restrictions limit numbers
 

Related Articles

Biden says COVID-19 boosters will be free
Biden says COVID-19 boosters will be free By Reuters - Sep 24, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Booster shots to bolster immunity against the coronavirus would be free and accessible, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday, one day after federal health...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email