Coronavirus: WHO supports Saudi Arabia’s decision to host limited Hajj pilgrimage

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The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the recent decision taken by Saudi Arabia to host a limited Hajj season this year based on risk assessments under WHO guidance, the organization’s chief said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“Earlier this week, the government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that this year’s Hajj will proceed with a limited number of pilgrims of different nationalities who live within the kingdom. This decision was made based on a risk assessment and analysis of different scenarios in accordance with WHO guidance to protect the safety of pilgrims and minimize the risk of transmission,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom.

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“WHO supports this decision. We understand that it was not an easy decision to make, and we also understand it is a major disappointment for many Muslims who are looking forward to making their pilgrimage this year,” Adhanom added.

“This is another example of the hard choices that all countries must make to put health first.”

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Earlier on Monday, Saudi Arabia’s authorities confirmed the Hajj pilgrimage would be held in a limited capacity this year amid the global pandemic.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime. Last year, 2.5 million pilgrims performed their Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

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