Saudis restrict hajj to “very limited numbers”

The annual hajj that traditionally draws some 2 million Muslims from around the world was not cancelled as formerly reported but restricted to “very small numbers” of people of different nationalities already resident in the country. Set to begin at the end of July, Riyadh did not cite any specific numbers only its commitment to the safety and security of the pilgrims in conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. The hajj, which the Saudi kingdom has never cancelled, generates around $6bn in revenue every year. Despite prompt measures to control its spread, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of covid-19 infections in the Middle East, with more than 161,000 confirmed cases and 1,307 deaths.

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