Saudi Arabia to allow limited Hajj pilgrimage this year

-- Authorities confirm small number of residents will be allowed to perform pilgrimage this year

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Saudi Arabia said on Monday that a small number of residents will be allowed to perform Hajj this year.

Saudi authorities wanted “to establish a ritual safe in a healthy manner”, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

People from various nationalities based in Saudi would be eligible to perform the Hajj, depending on health and safety precautions.

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said “very limited numbers” would be allowed to perform the pilgrimage, in line with “the teachings of Islam” and preserving the health of all.

It said the Hajj preparations would include requirements for disease prevention and social separation.

The country has recorded 161,005 cases and 1,307 deaths, but on Sunday lockdown orders were lifted.

People spent time at the seafront promenade in the port city of Jeddah as the country reopened, and flocked to hairdressers, barbers and shops across the kingdom.

Workers returned as offices, mosques, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and gyms reopened after more than three months of measures to curb the spread of the virus, including nightly lockdowns.

Roads in Jeddah, which had been eerily quiet for months, sprang to life from 6am, with people venturing out of their homes to shop.

More than half of the 9,003,042 cases are in Europe and the US, with the latter recording more than 2.2 million cases.

Iran is the worst hit Middle East nation, with 207,525 reported cases and 9,742 deaths.

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