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Coronavirus

No COVID-19 cases among Hajj pilgrims: Saudi Arabia’s health ministry

Published: Updated:

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus among Hajj pilgrims to date, the spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health said on Monday.

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“The health of the pilgrims is reassuring, praise be to God, and no Coronavirus infections or any diseases affecting public health have been recorded among them,” Dr. Mohammed al-Abd al-Ali wrote on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia has imposed strict coronavirus measures to ensure that everyone is safe at all times during the Hajj pilgrimage.

The Islamic ritual usually brings more than 2.5 million Muslims a year to Mecca. This year, authorities have limited the number of people allowed to take part in Hajj to only 60,000.

Pilgrims arrive at the Grand Holy Mosque for Hajj. (SPA)
Pilgrims arrive at the Grand Holy Mosque for Hajj. (SPA)

Only vaccinated Saudi Arabian citizens and residents who are aged between 18 and 65, do not have chronic illnesses, or have not done Hajj before were allowed to take part in this year’s pilgrimage.

Last year, only 10,000 people living in the Kingdom were given permits.

Social distancing measures have been enforced throughout the ritual, including pilgrims walking around the Kaaba (known as circumambulating), when they walk or run between the Safa and Marwah hills, and when they take part in the stoning of the devil ritual.

Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar symbolizing Satan during the annual Haj pilgrimage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 20, 2021. (Reuters)
Muslim pilgrims cast stones at a pillar symbolizing Satan during the annual Haj pilgrimage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 20, 2021. (Reuters)

The pilgrims have been divided into groups of 20, all lead by a guide, to ensure that they abide by the protocols.

The courtyards around the Kaaba are also repeatedly sanitized throughout the day and robots have been set up to hand out Zamzam water bottles to prevent crowding at the water wells.

Read more:

Hajj amid COVID-19: Pilgrims take part in stoning devil ritual on Eid al-Adha

Hajj amid COVID-19: Steps and rituals every pilgrim must follow

Hajj begins in Saudi Arabia under strict COVID-19 rules for second consecutive year