Saudi Arabia welcomed a significantly smaller group of Hajj pilgrims last month under strict coronavirus preventative measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Kingdom only allowed those living in the country and who meet certain criteria to participate in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and required for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime.
Those who managed to secure a spot were randomly selected through an automated raffle system, with no human involvement, according to the Minister of Hajj and Umrah.
In February, authorities in Saudi Arabia suspended entry for individuals going on the Umrah pilgrimage due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. In June, Kingdom authorities decided to allow a “limited Hajj” of about 1,000 people to take place.
The group was required to self-isolate at home seven days prior to arriving in Mecca, as part of the requirements to participate in the pilgrimage.
The participants were then quarantined in the designated hotel until the start of the rituals.
The pilgrims were transported in assigned groups daily while every 50 individuals were accompanied by a health leader to ensure safety measures, including wearing a mask and social distancing, were implemented at all times.
Take a look back at what this year’s Hajj pilgrimage looked like in photos and videos amid strict COVID-19 preventative measures and the implementation of social distancing.
Watch: #Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia arrive in Mecca to perform the final “tawaf,” or circumambulation ritual – when Muslims walk around the Kaaba seven times – as the final day of this year's Hajj nears completion under strict #coronavirus measures.https://t.co/PgiH6Q3YD6 pic.twitter.com/6AS0G8lrDq— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 2, 2020
The head of the @WHO hails efforts taken by #Saudi Arabia to ensure precautionary measures and protocols are enforced during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage amid the #COVID19 pandemic.#coronavirushttps://t.co/ORYWaontOr pic.twitter.com/6ZCTmbCHu6— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 2, 2020