The main rituals of the hajj pilgrimage began today, Wednesday, in the Holy Land in Saudi Arabia, in limited numbers, amid severe restrictions imposed this year due to the Corona virus.
The pilgrims from Mecca went to Mina after the dawn prayer today, Wednesday, in what is known as the “Day of Tarwiya”, which is the eighth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, in light of strict preventive measures.
Saudi Arabia has banned the entry of foreigners from outside the country into Mecca and Medina, as part of efforts to limit the spread of the Corona virus.
It is expected that about ten thousand people will participate in the rituals of the Hajj this year, compared to the two million Muslims who went to the Holy Land in Saudi Arabia to perform the duty each year.
In normal circumstances, most of the people who go to the holy lands for Hajj are from outside the country, but the Riyadh government has restricted the attendance of rituals this year to foreigners residing in Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims stay at the end of this day in Mina, and then, after dawn prayer, on Thursday, they will go to Mount Arafat.
Participants in the pilgrimage this year underwent temperature measurement and corona virus testing before arriving in Mecca at the end of last week.
Pilgrims are subject to quarantine before and after performing the rites, while obliging them to wear protective masks for the duration of the Hajj.
In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Salih Banten said that pilgrims underwent self-isolation in their homes before they were subjected to quarantine for an additional four days in Mecca hotels.
The number of epidemic cases in Saudi Arabia recorded 270,000, with the number of deaths due to the virus increasing to 3,000, making Saudi Arabia one of the hotbeds of the viral epidemic in the Middle East.
The country ended the nationwide shutdown last month, starting to enforce strict restrictions to curb the spread of infection last March, including a 24-hour curfew in a number of cities.
The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam and a duty for every Muslim is obligatory once in his life.
Pilgrims gather in Mecca to circulate around the Kaaba, and perform other rituals aimed at renewing a sense of purpose in life.