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Saudi Arabia closes borders to hajj attendees

Saudi Arabia mentioned on Monday it should bar arrivals from overseas to attend the hajj this yr because of the coronavirus, permitting solely a restricted variety of Saudi residents and residents to make the pilgrimage with social distancing measures enforced.

“This resolution is taken to make sure Hajj is carried out in a secure method from a public well being perspective whereas observing all preventative measures and the required social distancing protocols to guard human beings from the dangers related to this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings,” the ministry that oversees pilgrimages mentioned in an announcement.

The variety of coronavirus circumstances in Saudi Arabia has exceeded 160,000, with 1,307 deaths, following an increase in new infections over the previous two weeks.

Some 2.5 million pilgrims sometimes go to the holiest websites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long hajj. Official knowledge present Saudi Arabia earns round $12bn a yr from the hajj and the lesser, year-round pilgrimage often called Umrah.

The dominion halted worldwide passenger flights in March and requested Muslims in March to place hajj plans on maintain till additional discover. Worldwide arrivals for umrah pilgrimages have additionally been suspended till additional discover.Earlier this month, Malaysia and Indonesia each barred their residents from travelling to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, citing fears of the coronavirus.