Restrictions in Place for Hajj Pilgrimage

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Sarah Peddie

The annual pilgrimage of Hajj got underway in Saudi Arabia but has been dramatically scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hajj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia - the holiest city for Muslims and they must make the journey to the holy site at least once in their lifetime, if they are physically capable to do so. 

However, restrictions have been put in place for the pilgrimage as the coronavirus outbreak continues to sweep across the world.

International visitors have been banned from making the journey to Mecca which means around 10,000 people are expected, compared to the 2 million who would usually make the trip.

Foreign visitors make up the majority of numbers but this year, it is only people who reside in Saudi Arabia that are allowed to visit.  

Those who are taking part in the pilgrimage this year will have to get their temperature checked and be tested for the virus when they arrive at Mecca.

Face masks will be mandatory at all times and worshippers will be asked to quarantine before and after making the trip. 

Saudi Arabia had only just lifted their strict nationwide lockdown restrictions last month. These restrictions came into place in March and included 24- hour curfews in most of the major cities throughout the Kingdom. 

The Kingdom has recorded over 270,000 coronavirus cases with over 2,700 deaths throughout the country - which is one of the highest outbreaks in the middle east which is why there is much precaution during Hajj. 

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