The virus is spreading in its poor neighborhoods .. Saudi Arabia is racing against time to open Mecca


With the approaching month of Ramadan, which is followed by the Hajj season, the Saudi authorities are racing against time to contain the outbreak of the new Corona virus, especially in the city of Mecca, in an attempt to reopen it, which is inhabited by more than two million people.

The slums in the city of Mecca contributed to the spread of the disease despite the curfew imposed in the country, where 1050 cases of new Corona virus were registered until Monday, according to a Bloomberg report.

The presence of migrants who are not registered with the official authorities and the large numbers that inhabit them are a major reason for the spread of the disease, according to the report.

In late March, five cases of Saudi Bin Laden Group employees, which is the largest construction company in the Kingdom, were in Makkah, prompting the authorities to quarantine 8,000 workers and stopping work on the expansion of the Holy Mosque, one of the holiest Islamic sites, while the company was trying not to respond to a request Suspending the work, and it is not clear whether it was stopped or not.

Protecting Makkah from the Corona pandemic is crucial to Saudi Arabia, not only because it is the most important city for the world’s Muslims, but also because it established its rule based on guardianship at the source of Islam, according to Bloomberg.

The official title of King Salman bin Abdulaziz is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, not to mention that millions of Muslim pilgrims visit it every year.

Yasmine Farouqi, a researcher at the Carnegie Institute said that the authorities in Saudi Arabia are aware that the spread of the new Corona virus in Mecca will affect its legal role in protecting holy places, and this is a sensitive situation for them.

To date, the number of injured people in the Kingdom in general has reached within the level of 5000 cases in a country inhabited by more than 30 million people, and Mecca was one of the first cities to impose a curfew for a full day, and suspended religious tourism and the practice of prayers.

The spread of the virus has become a national issue for some Saudis, especially since nearly 80 percent of the cases recorded are foreign residents, according to data from the Saudi Ministry of Health, and some foreign residents attacked and accused them of spreading the infection deliberately. According to Bloomberg.

The Minister of Health, Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, acknowledged the problem in a televised address on Monday, saying that a government committee had been formed to deal with the issue. The government also promised free treatment for injured foreign residents, including undocumented immigrants.

In the face of more than four thousand cases of the virus, the highest rate in the Gulf, the oil state suspended air travel, closed cities and imposed a curfew nationwide in a blow to the tourism sector.

At the same time, the authorities decided to spend millions of dollars to isolate thousands of returning travelers from abroad and people in contact with the injured, in empty hotels throughout the Kingdom.


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