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Hajj started on Saturday in holy Mecca amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the second Haj pilgrimage since the pandemic started last year. A batch of pilgrims have reached Mecca on Saturday. Monday is the third day of Hajj. This time in light of the pandemic, Haji has to follow many strict rules. Wearing of face mask will be mandatory during Hajj and social distancing will have to be strictly followed. Although the number of pilgrims has increased compared to last year, this number is still less as opposed to what it was before the pandemic. This time Saudi Arabia has allowed 60 thousand people to perform Hajj. Saudi Arabia has allowed only Saudi citizens this year.
Only fully vaccinated citizens allowed
This time, 60 thousand citizens, who have received both their doses, are permitted to perform the annual pilgrimage. Apart from this, some people have been selected from 55,000 applicants through an online pool. It is a mandatory protocol for those performing Hajj that they should have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The age of those performing Hajj was kept between 18 and 65 years. Another condition was that pilgrims should not have any chronic disease.
Only 6 thousand people can perform rituals in 3 hours
The Hajj Ministry has said that this year’s Hajj pilgrimage has been organized keeping in mind the pandemic and accordingly, the highest level of precautions have been taken. According to the ministry, 6,000 people enter to perform tawaf every three hours. Sanitization is done after each group leaves. Officials also said that the pilgrims have been divided into groups of 20 so that the rules of social distancing can be followed. Pilgrims travel to the Big Mosque in Mecca to perform tawaf, where they circle the Kaaba 7 times counterclockwise. This place is considered the holiest point on earth in Islam. Hajj performers circle the Kaaba 7 times. After this, they undertake a 5-day pilgrimage to other nearby holy sites.
Importance of hajj
Hajj is one of the largest religious rituals in the world. In the year 2019, about 25 lakh people took part in the Hajj pilgrimage. Performing Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is considered an obligation for every Muslim to do this at least once in his lifetime. It is estimated that in July 2020, only 10 thousand Saudi people took part in the Hajj pilgrimage. So far, more than 5 lakh cases and 8,000 deaths from the Covid-19 virus have been registered in Saudi Arabia.
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