Muslims in masks attend first ever Hajj with social distancing at Mecca
World News

Muslims in masks attend first ever Hajj with social distancing at Mecca

It is a pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are supposed to do at least once in their life.

But this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia looks remarkably different from previous ones where millions of people make their way to the holiest city for Muslims.

The number of people allowed to take part this year has been greatly reduced due to coronavirus fears.

Photos have emerged today that shows worshippers in Mecca wearing face masks and gathering in several circles to strictly observe social distancing .

The eye-catching images show pilgrims predominately dressed in white, while individually holding up matching umbrellas to protect them from the blazing sun.

The “new look” Haji has been praised on social media.

One person on Twitter commented: “The crowd control is impressive and beautiful. Love the colored umbrellas.”

Another tweeted: “Amazing! And such a change to images seen in the past, taking health needs to heart!”

According to a third person on Twitter the colour of the umbrella a worshipper holds has a meaning.

He said: “The green umbrella is for Saudi nationals and the red ones for temporary residents.”

Another person said the worshippers at this year’s Haji were selected randomly while one man said social distancing is a “godsend” alluding to previous pilgrimages where people were crushed to death.

During the Hajj, pilgrims travel to Mina, a large valley about 5km (3 miles) from Mecca, to throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which represent the devil.

But in 2015 more than 700 were killed and more than 850 were injured during a stampede in Mina making it the Haji’s worst disaster in 30 years.

The pilgrimage ends on Sunday.

In February Saudi Arabia had suspended trips to Mecca and Medina due to coronavirus outbreak fears.


Pat Reaves
Pat Reaves writes for our World News section. Having spent his youth traveling from one country to another, Pat has incurred an education that is truly international in culture, academia, and language. His quick thinking and spontaneity has landed him in the sector where stories happen without any warning. He is an extremely patient and nurturing writer who lets a story take its course without interference and prejudice.

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