Saudi Arabia : Saudi authorities said on Monday that this year 2020 Hajj  will start on July 29 after it was scaled back to include only around 1,000 pilgrims due to the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 3 million people from all over the world reach hajj every year

This year’s Hajj will be held under strict hygiene protocols, with access limited to pilgrims under 65 years old and without any chronic illnesses.

“The stand of pilgrims on Mount Arafat, the peak of the Hajj ritual, falls on Thursday,” the official Saudi Press Agency cited the Supreme Court as saying, indicating that Wednesday would be the first day of the annual event.

It has seen some 253,349 cases so far including 2,523 deaths — the highest toll among the Arab Gulf states. Although Hajj officials said the pilgrimage would be restricted to 1,000 people already present in the kingdom, 70% of them foreigners and the rest Saudis, some press reports have said that 10,000 people may take part. The ritual will be restricted to medical professionals and security personnel who have recovered from the virus, the Hajj ministry said.

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