Scaled-down Hajj pilgrimage to start on July 29: Saudi officials
Only 1,000 people will be able to take part in the pilgrimage and will need to be quarantined after the event.
This year’s Hajj, which has been scaled back dramatically to include only about 1,000 Muslim pilgrims because of the coronavirus pandemic, will begin on July 29, Saudi authorities said on Monday.
Some 2.5 million people usually participate in the ritual of several days, which is centred on the holy city of Mecca.
“The stand of pilgrims on Mount Arafat, the peak of the Hajj ritual, falls on Thursday,” the official Saudi Press Agency cited the Supreme Court as saying, indicating that Wednesday would be the first day of the annual event.
The timing of the Hajj is determined by the position of the moon, in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar.
Last month, Saudi Arabia announced it would hold a “very limited” Hajj, a decision fraught with political and economic peril as it battles a surge in coronavirus cases that now exceed more than 250,000.
The Hajj and the lesser Umrah pilgrimage attract millions of Muslims from around the world and together bring in some $12bn a year for the country.
Although Hajj officials have said the pilgrimage will be restricted to 1,000 people who are already in the kingdom – both foreigners and citizens – some press reports have said that 10,000 people could take part.
The ritual has been restricted to medical professionals and security personnel who have recovered from the virus, the Hajj ministry said.
The decision to exclude pilgrims arriving from outside Saudi Arabia is a first in the kingdom’s modern history.
Those taking part will be tested for coronavirus before arriving in the holy city of Mecca and are required to quarantine at home after the ritual, according to health officials.
Pentru „agnosticii“ de coronavirus, publicăm câteva informații din alte meleaguri, nelegate de realegerea lui Trump:
Masks in Melbourne as Victoria coronavirus cases hit record: Live
Australian state is stepping up campaign against virus with mandatory mask law and aggressive testing.
- The Australian state of Victoria has announced 484 new cases of coronavirus – a daily record – as it becomes mandatory for everyone in the state to wear masks when they leave their homes.
- From mask sceptic to champion of face coverings: After months of downplaying their use, United States President Donald Trump has told Americans to wear masks because “they have an impact”. He would “gladly” use one, he added.
- More than 14.9 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and nearly 616,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the updates:
Wednesday, July 22
05:20 GMT – Some sense trouble as Japan launches domestic tourism campaign
Japan is preparing to launch a controversial domestic tourism campaign that some have dubbed “Go To Trouble”.
The “Go To Travel” initiative is supposed to boost the tourism industry with travel subsidies of up to 50 percent.
But as coronavirus cases surge, travel to and from Tokyo has been removed and politicians elsewhere want the campaign suspended for fear it will spread the virus around the country.
The public is also sceptical with a poll by the Mainichi newspaper showing 69 percent of respondents wanted it cancelled.
03:15 GMT – Australia’s Victoria reports another daily record of cases
The Australian state of Victoria has reported a record 484 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths from the disease – both men in their 90s.
Masks have been made mandatory in the state and everyone who goes outside must wear one.
People in Melbourne are currently only able to leave their homes for food and essential supplied, medical reasons, exercise and work or education (if it cannot be done from home).
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