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Monday Jul 06 2020
By
Reuters

Hajj 2020: Saudi Arabia imposes new health protocols to stem spread of COVID-19

By
Reuters
Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world flock to the cities of Makkah and Medina for the week-long ritual each year. Photo: Reuters

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has imposed a new set of instructions for Hajj 2020 pilgrims in a bid to keep the COVID-19 from spreading, as new cases of the infection continue to emerge from several countries across the globe. 

Saudi Arabia decided in June to limit the number of domestic pilgrims attending the Hajj to around 1,000 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after barring Muslims abroad from the rite for the first year in modern times.

Touching the Holy Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, will be banned during the Hajj this year, and a social distancing space of a meter and a half between each pilgrim during the rituals including mass prayers and while in the Kaaba circling area will be imposed, a statement by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) elaborated.

Also, access to holy Hajj sites at Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat will be limited to those with haj permits starting Sunday July 19 till August 2 2020, and wearing masks all the time will be mandatory for both pilgrims and organisers.