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The wide white marble floors encompassing Islam’s holiest web page, the dice-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, would generally be packed with hundreds of 1000’s of pilgrims from all around the entire world the day just before the hajj.

On Tuesday, having said that, only a handful of officers and staff placing very last minute preparations in location have been witnessed at the Grand Mosque housing the Kaaba, the Linked Press experiences.

The area around the Kaaba being prepared for pilgrims, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Only about 1,000 pilgrims will be allowed to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage this year due to the pandemic.

The space close to the Kaaba staying prepared for pilgrims, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Only about 1,000 pilgrims will be allowed to conduct the once-a-year hajj pilgrimage this calendar year thanks to the pandemic. Photograph: Ministry of Media/AP

In area of the 2.5 million pilgrims who preformed the hajj previous calendar year, only a pretty constrained amount of faithful any where from 1,000 to 10,000 are staying allowed to choose component in what is largely a symbolic pilgrimage amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The choose couple of approved for this year’s hajj have been analyzed for the virus and are self-isolating in lodge rooms in Mecca, exactly where they will expertise an historical pilgrimage albeit tailor-made this yr for a modern day-working day world pandemic.

Amr Al-Maddah, the chief arranging officer at the Ministry of Hajj, is helping integrate the hottest technological know-how into the pilgrimage this sort of as thermal scanners and digital ID playing cards. “Right now, know-how is our black horse to producing the entire hajj journey,” explained al-Maddah.


We are having just about every move attainable to make guaranteed that this hajj will end with zero scenarios of Covid-19 and also with zero deaths in our overall hajj numbers.

In advance of pilgrims could enter Mecca, they ended up offered wristbands by the Saudi wellbeing ministry to keep an eye on their movements and be certain the mandatory quarantine was observed. Thermal scanners are staying made use of across the holy web pages to keep an eye on people’s temperatures.

Every pilgrim is assigned to a team of all over 20 other people. A group chief will information them all through the hajj to every vacation spot at a specified time, to stay clear of crowding in sites like the Grand Mosque, exactly where Muslims circle the Kaaba and adhere to a route travelled by the Prophet Abrahams spouse, Hagar, who Muslims believe that ran between two hills exploring for drinking water for her dying son.

While on Mount Arafat, exactly where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his last sermon almost 1,400 several years back and where pilgrims will commit Thursday in deep prayer and repentance, the pilgrims will be wearing superior-tech ID cards that connect to an application on their phones.

The card and application makes it possible for the government to easily check the pilgrims, and offers them a way to access out to their group chief and make unique food requests. The card stores the pilgrims private information and facts, overall health standing, residence and other hajj-relevant aspects. In the long run, al-Maddah stated the playing cards will be fitted with a locale tracker to comply with particular person pilgrims movements. The tracker will be managed by a command room, and can be made use of as a pay back card in put of funds.

The hallways of the Grand Mosque deserted during the annual hajj pilgrimage amid the coronavirus crisis in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca. Some 2.5 million people from all over the world usually participate in the ritual that takes place over several days. This year’s hajj will be held under strict hygiene protocols, with access limited to pilgrims under 65 years old and without any chronic illnesses.

The hallways of the Grand Mosque deserted all through the yearly hajj pilgrimage amid the coronavirus disaster in Saudi Arabia’s holy town of Mecca. Some 2.5 million individuals from all about the environment commonly take part in the ritual that requires area more than several times. This year’s hajj will be held below rigid hygiene protocols, with entry minimal to pilgrims underneath 65 a long time outdated and without the need of any chronic illnesses. Photograph: Saudi Ministry of Media/AFP/Getty Images

Pilgrims have also been supplied special attire to use all through the hajj laced with silver nano technological innovation that will help destroy bacteria and makes apparel drinking water resistant. Al-Maddah said the measure is a precaution, even if it can impact practically nothing” or has a negligible probability of improving health and fitness circumstances.”

All the pilgrims’ foods, hotel accommodation, transportation and health treatment is also staying paid for by the Saudi authorities. Generally, the hajj can cost 1000’s of pounds for pilgrims who help save for a lifetime for the journey.

This 12 months marks the 1st time in practically a century of Saudi rule more than Mecca that people from outside the house the kingdom will not get part in the 5-working day hajj, which is a at the time in a life time requirement of Muslims. Al-Maddah, who sits on the hajj scheduling committee, stated making it possible for folks to enter Saudi Arabia from overseas would have posed a world-wide wellness danger.

Two-thirds of pilgrims this year are foreigners currently residing in Saudi Arabia from between the 160 unique nationalities that would have typically been represented at the hajj. The other one-3rd are Saudi safety staff and health-related staff. All pilgrims experienced to be between the ages of 20 and 50 with no terminal sicknesses and displaying no signs and symptoms of the coronavirus.

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Muhammad Wayne

About the author: Muhammad Wayne

Wayne is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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