Saudi Arabia: Hajj pilgrims in good health, no coronavirus cases among them so far

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The health of pilgrims is “reassuring,” and there have been no coronavirus cases detected among them so far, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, the first day of Hajj.

The ministry’s spokesman Dr. Mohammed al-Abdulaali highlighted the government’s preparations to provide all necessary health services at the Holy sites which included: six hospitals, 51 clinics, 200 ambulances, 62 field teams, a field hospital, a mobile clinic, six ambulances setup with advanced equipment and three clinics at the residence of pilgrims, state news agency SPA reported.

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Each group of 50 pilgrims was also assigned with a health leader to accompany them throughout the journey of the Hajj rituals and ensure their well being and provide any immediate medical assistance needed.

Pilgrims began the first day of Hajj rituals on Wednesday amid heightened security and strict coronavirus health precautions. All pilgrims had also started a 7-day home isolation prior to partaking in this year's Hajj.

The Kingdom had announced in June that it will only allow a “limited” number of people (10,000) to perform Hajj this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that those individuals will be of different nationalities but already residing in the Kingdom.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime. Approximately, 2.5 million pilgrims typically visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj.

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