Saudi Arabia stages second scaled-down Hajj of Covid-19 era

Prime News, International, Religion, Mecca (Saudi Arabia), July 19:- Hajj pilgrims streamed out of the holy city of Mecca towards Mina on Sunday (July 18), the second day of a massively scaled-down version of Islam’s greatest pilgrimage, held in the shadow of coronavirus for the second year running.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia are only allowing 60,000 fully vaccinated citizens and residents to take part, far from the vast crowds of some 2.5 million pilgrims who descend on Mecca in normal times.

Health authorities confirmed at a briefing late Sunday that not a single coronavirus case had been reported amongst the pilgrims.

Starting Saturday, groups of the faithful performed the “tawaf” at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, circling the Kaaba, a large cubic structure draped in golden-embroidered black cloth towards which Muslims around the world pray.

After that, they made their way to Mina, where they were to spend the night. An official confirmed on Sunday that all the pilgrims were now in Mina.

Mina sits in a narrow valley surrounded by rocky mountains, some 5km from the Grand Mosque, and is transformed each year into a vast encampment for pilgrims. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)

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