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Covid-19: Wait for more clarity before planning Haj, urges Saudi Arabia

Reuters/Riyadh
Filed on April 1, 2020
Coronavirus, Covid-19, Ministry of Haj and Umrah, Saudi Arabia, Haj, Umrah

(Reuters)

The coronavirus crisis has raised questions about whether annual pilgrimage can go ahead in late July.

Saudi Arabia wants pilgrims to wait until there is more clarity about the coronavirus pandemic before planning to attend the annual Haj pilgrimage, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah said on state TV on Tuesday.

Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world usually flock to the holiest sites of Makkah and Madinah for the week-long ritual.

The largest annual gathering of Muslims is scheduled to begin in late July, but the coronavirus outbreak has raised questions about whether it can or should go ahead given the risk of spreading the disease further in large gatherings.

Saudi Arabia has already suspended the smaller Umrah pilgrimage until further notice, halted all international passenger flights indefinitely and last week blocked entry and exit to several cities, including Makkah and Madinah.


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