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Last Updated : Jul 30, 2020 01:51 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

In pics | A few hundred pilgrims reach Mecca for downsized hajj amid COVID-19 fears

For the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, no pilgrims from abroad are permitted to take part in the hajj due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Pilgrims move several feet apart as they keep social distancing to limit exposure and the potential transmission of the novel COVID-19 at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Muslim pilgrims have started arriving in Mecca. With only a few thousand residents of Saudi Arabia permitted to take part due to the rising concerns over the pandemic, Islamic pilgrimage has downsized this year. Pilgrims arrive to King Abdulaziz Airport for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 25. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

Muslims have started arriving in Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage. With only a few thousand residents of Saudi Arabia permitted to take part due to the rising concerns over the pandemic, Islamic pilgrimage has been downsized this year. (Above) Pilgrims arrive at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 25. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

The hajj normally draws around 2.5 million people to worship in one of the world's largest gatherings of people from around the world. But this year, Saudi Arabia's Hajj Ministry has allowed a number of pilgrims between 1,000 and 10,000 who are already residing in the kingdom. Among them two-thirds of those pilgrims will be foreign residents in Saudi Arabia and one-third will be Saudi citizens. In this photo of July 26, Saudi security officers check the identification cards of people entering Mecca ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Saudi Ministry of Media)

The hajj normally draws around 2.5 million people to worship in one of the world's largest gatherings of people from around the world. But this year, Saudi Arabia's Hajj Ministry has allowed a number of pilgrims between 1,000 and 10,000 who are already residing in the kingdom. Among them two-thirds of those pilgrims will be foreign residents in Saudi Arabia and one-third will be Saudi citizens. In this photo of July 26, Saudi security officers check the identification cards of people entering Mecca ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Saudi Ministry of Media)

The Saudi government is covering the expenses of all pilgrims this year, providing them with meals, hotel accommodation, transportation and health care. For the first time in Saudi history, no pilgrims from abroad were permitted to take part in the hajj due to concerns about the coronavirus and overcrowding. Also, this year the international media were not given permission to cover the hajj from Mecca. The luggage of pilgrims is sanitized in a hotel lobby in Mecca ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, July 26. (Saudi Ministry of Media)

The Saudi government is covering the expenses of all pilgrims this year, providing them with meals, hotel accommodation, transportation and health care. For the first time in Saudi history, no pilgrims from abroad were permitted to take part in the hajj due to concerns about the coronavirus and overcrowding. Also, this year the international media were not given permission to cover the hajj from Mecca. Here, the luggage of pilgrims is sanitised in a hotel lobby in Mecca ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Saudi Ministry of Media)

Policemen wearing gloves and face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, provide security for pilgrims, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 26. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

Policemen wearing gloves and face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus provide security for pilgrims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, as they observe social distancing to protect themselves against the coronavirus, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 29. (Image: AP)

Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, as they observe social distancing to protect themselves against the coronavirus, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 29. (Image: AP)

In this photo released by the Saudi Media Ministry, a limited numbers of pilgrims move several feet apart, circling the cube-shaped Kaaba in the first rituals of the hajj, as they keep social distancing to limit exposure and the potential transmission of the coronavirus, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 29. (Image: Saudi Media Ministry via AP)

In this photo released by the Saudi Media Ministry, a limited numbers of pilgrims move several feet apart, circling the cube-shaped Kaaba in the first rituals of the hajj, as they keep social distancing to limit exposure and the potential transmission of the coronavirus, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 29. (Image: Saudi Media Ministry via AP)

A Muslim pilgrim wearing a protective face mask has his temperature checked as he arrives in Mina, July 29. (Image: Saudi Press Agency via REUTERS)

A Muslim pilgrim wearing a protective face mask has his temperature checked as he arrives in Mina, July 29. (Image: Saudi Press Agency via REUTERS)

An aerial view of tents prepared for Muslim pilgrims in the holy city of Mecca, July 28. (Image: Saudi Press Agency via REUTERS)

An aerial view of tents prepared for Muslim pilgrims in the holy city of Mecca, July 28. (Image: Saudi Press Agency via REUTERS)

Muslim pilgrims walk at the Grand mosque, July 29. (Image: Saudi Press Agency via REUTERS)

Muslim pilgrims walk at the Grand mosque, July 29. (Image: Saudi Press Agency via REUTERS)

Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they arrive to circle the Kaaba, July 29. (Image: Saudi Ministry of Media via REUTERS)

Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they arrive to circle the Kaaba, July 29. (Image: Saudi Ministry of Media via REUTERS)

A man burns incense as the area around the Kaaba, the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, is prepared for pilgrims, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 26. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

A man burns incense as the area around the Kaaba, the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, is prepared for pilgrims, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on July 26. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

The authority is following all the precautionary measure to stem the spread of disease. It is must for pilgrims to wear face masks and will only be able to drink holy water from the Zamzam well in Mecca that has been prepackaged in plastic bottles. A small number of pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 26. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

The authority is following all the precautionary measure to stem the spread of disease. It is a must for pilgrims to wear face masks and will only be able to drink holy water from the Zamzam well in Mecca that has been prepackaged in plastic bottles. A small number of pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 26. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

Pebbles for casting away evil that are usually picked up by pilgrims along hajj routes will be sterilized and bagged before being distributed to the pilgrims. The Black Stone located on the Kaaba's eastern corner is prepared before pilgrims start their circumambulation of the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 27. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

Pebbles for casting away evil that are usually picked up by pilgrims along hajj routes will be sterilised and bagged before being distributed to the pilgrims. The Black Stone located on the Kaaba's eastern corner is prepared before pilgrims start their circumambulation of the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

Pilgrims are also bringing their own prayer rugs and will be required to pray at a distance from one another, rather than packed shoulder-to-shoulder. Pilgrims pray around the Kaaba, the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 26. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

Pilgrims are also bringing their own prayer rugs and will be required to pray at a distance from one another, rather than packed shoulder to shoulder. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

A pilgrim touches the Kaaba, the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 27. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

A pilgrim touches the Kaaba, the square structure in the Great Mosque, toward which believers turn when praying, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Ministry of Media via AP)

First Published on Jul 28, 2020 05:00 pm
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