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In pictures: Social distancing and electronic wristbands as pilgrims attend scaled-down Haj

“Everyone will be praying for this pandemic to end, and for all the people of the world to see better months to come."
Published 30 Jul, 2020 04:19pm

In years before the coronavirus, some three million white-clad pilgrims from across the world flocked to Islam's holiest sites to attend Haj under Saudi Arabia's blistering sun.

With the pandemic making large gatherings impossible, only a few thousand pilgrims — Saudis and foreign residents — are gathering this year on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat for the most important ritual.

“Everyone will be praying for this pandemic to end, and for all the people of the world to see better months to come after all the suffering caused by coronavirus,” said Ammar Khaled, a 29-year-old Indian pilgrim who is an IT professional in Jeddah.

Pilgrims took several medical tests and were asked to quarantine for a week before starting their journey, then isolate for another week in their hotel rooms. They were given an electronic bracelet to monitor their movements and a suitcase containing all basic necessities.

Muslim pilgrims queue as they head to Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mina on July 30. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims queue as they head to Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mina on July 30. — Reuters

A Muslim pilgrim wearing a protective mask is seen near a bus as he heads to Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 30. — Reuters
A Muslim pilgrim wearing a protective mask is seen near a bus as he heads to Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 30. — Reuters

Muslim pilgrims maitain social distancing as they enter Namira Mosque in Arafat on July 30. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims maitain social distancing as they enter Namira Mosque in Arafat on July 30. — Reuters

Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they pray inside Namira Mosque in Arafat to mark Haj's most important day on July 30. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they pray inside Namira Mosque in Arafat to mark Haj's most important day on July 30. — Reuters

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters

A Muslim pilgrim drinks water at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters
A Muslim pilgrim drinks water at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters

An aerial view shows tents of Muslim pilgrims during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mina on July 29. — Reuters
An aerial view shows tents of Muslim pilgrims during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mina on July 29. — Reuters

Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters

Muslim pilgrims wearing protective face masks arrive to circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims wearing protective face masks arrive to circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters

Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage on July 29. — Reuters


Header image: Muslim pilgrims maintain social distancing as they circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Makkah on July 29. — Reuters