Coronavirus: Muslims begin downsized Hajj today amid pandemic

MAKKAH: (HRNW) As many as 10,000 Muslim pilgrims residing in Saudi Arabia will kick off the five-day annual Hajj pilgrimage on Tuesday amid safety protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.

But this year only up to 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom will participate in the ritual, a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world that attended last year.

“There are no security-related concerns in this pilgrimage, but (downsizing) is to protect pilgrims from the danger of the pandemic,” said Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, Saudi Arabia’s director of public security.

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