Grand Mosque in Mecca receives 1st batch of Haj pilgrims

The first batch of Haj pilgrims have arrived at the Grand Mosque in Macca to perform their first ritual for the annual pilgrimage, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The ritual was performed on Saturday with huge preparations and precautionary measures against Covid-19, Xinhua news agency reported citing the SPA as saying.

There are also different locations that can accommodate 11,000 pilgrims in total, according to the General Presidency for Affairs of Two Holy Mosques and the director of crowd management at the Grand Mosque.

More than 500 employees have been called in to receive pilgrims since early morning, said the director Osama bin Mansour Al-Hujaili.

It is the second consecutive Haj limited to domestic pilgrims only in an attempt to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

About 60,000 Muslims, selected by the authorities from 558,000 registered ones, will take part in the 2021 Haj season, while the number was 2.5 million in 2019.

More than 13 million worshippers wearing masks and observing physical distancing rules have visited the mosques since the seven-month prayer and Umrah suspension was lifted last October.

https://www.thestatesman.com/world/grand-mosque-mecca-receives-1st-batch-haj-pilgrims-1502983376.html

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