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Saudi official advises Muslims to delay hajj strategies over infection


Saudi official advises Muslims to delay hajj strategies over infection

A senior Saudi official has urged more than 1 million Muslims intending to travel to Islam’s holiest sites to delay making plans for the hajj this year due to the new coronavirus pandemicBy AYA BATRAWY and JON GAMBRELL Associated PressApril 1, 2020, 7:18 PM4 min readDUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A senior Saudi official Wednesday…

Saudi official advises Muslims to delay hajj strategies over infection

A senior Saudi official has actually urged more than 1 million Muslims meaning to take a trip to Islam’s holiest websites to postpone making plans for the hajj this year due to the new coronavirus pandemic



April 1, 2020, 7: 18 PM

4 min read

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates–
A senior Saudi authorities Wednesday prompted more than 1 million Muslims meaning to perform the hajj to delay making plans this year– remarks suggesting the expedition might be cancelled due to the brand-new coronavirus pandemic.

In February, the kingdom took the extraordinary choice to shut off the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to foreigners over the virus, a step which wasn’t taken even during the 1918 influenza epidemic that killed 10s of millions worldwide.

Constraints have tightened up in the kingdom as it grapples with over 1,700 verified cases of the brand-new virus. The kingdom has reported 16 deaths so far.

The Middle East has over 75,000 confirmed cases of the virus, the majority of those in Iran, and over 3,400 deaths. Iran’s health ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said Wednesday that the virus had actually eliminated another 138 people, pushing the country’s death toll to 3,036 in the middle of 47,593 verified cases.

” The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is prepared to secure the safety of all Muslims and nationals,” Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Banten told state tv. “That’s why we have requested from all Muslims worldwide to hold onto signing any contracts (with trip operators) till we have a clear vision.”

He spoke as the noise of crickets echoed in the background late Tuesday night at the Grand Mosque of Capital, which typically draws countless worshippers throughout the day and night, circling it and hoping towards it.

Saudi Arabia has actually disallowed people from getting in or leaving 3 major cities, consisting of Capital and Medina, and imposed a nighttime curfew throughout the country. Like other countries around the globe and in the Middle East, the kingdom also suspended all incoming and outgoing business flights.

Each year, up to 2 million Muslims perform the hajj, a physically demanding and often expensive trip that draws the faithful from all over the world. The hajj, needed of all able-bodied Muslims to carry out once in their life time, is seen as a possibility to wipe clean previous sins and bring about higher humbleness and unity amongst Muslims.

Standing in Mecca in front of the cube-shaped Kaaba that Muslims hope toward 5 times daily, Banten also stated the kingdom was already offering take care of 1,200 pilgrims stuck in the holy city due to global travel limitations. A variety of them are being quarantined in hotels in Capital, he said.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency cited Banten’s remarks in stories early Wednesday, saying that Muslims ought to “be patient” in making their prepare for the hajj. The expedition was expected to begin in late July this year.

The kingdom’s Al Saud ruling family stakes its legitimacy in this oil-rich country on supervising and protecting the hajj websites. Saudi King Salman, whose country is commanding the Group of 20 countries this year, has said his government will cover the costs treatment of all coronavirus patients in the country, consisting of visitors, foreign homeowners and those living illegally.

On The Other Hand, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani once again slammed the U.S. sanctions on his nation Wednesday. He stated now would have been “the finest time” for the Trump administration to ease sanctions on Iran, reeling from the region’s worst break outs of the infection.

” It was the very best historical chance for America,” Rouhani stated in remarks at the weekly Cabinet meeting. “They (the U.S.) might have said sorry. This was a human issue and nobody would criticize them for withdrawing,”

President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from Iran’s 2015 nuclear contract with world powers and reimposed sweeping sanctions. The U.S. has used humanitarian aid to Iran however authorities in Tehran have declined.

Iran has actually been prompting the international community to raise sanctions, and is seeking a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund for the very first time in years.

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In Israel, which has actually discovered 5,591 cases and is under near lockdown, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced further containment procedures to suppress the spread of the infection.

In a telecasted address, he said police would firmly restrict entry and exit from the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox city that has been particularly hard struck by the virus break out. Numerous in Israel’s insular ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods have actually defied restrictions on public gatherings, fueling tension with authorities. Netanyahu likewise ordered people to wear masks when heading out in public.

Next week’s Passover holiday, normally a time for large household gatherings, must be commemorated only at house with immediate household, he included.


Associated Press author Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

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