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WHO Welcomes Saudi Decision to Limit Hajj

WHO Welcomes Saudi Decision to Limit Hajj

Wednesday, 24 June, 2020 - 18:15
A customer gets his temperature checked at a cafe in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to greatly limit the number of Hajj pilgrims this year over the coronavirus pandemic.

“As some countries start to reopen their societies and economies, the question about how to hold gatherings of large numbers of people safely has become increasingly important,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanum, said Wednesday. “This is especially true of one of the world’s largest mass gatherings, the annual Hajj pilgrimage.”

The Kingdom said Monday that a limited number of Saudi citizens and residents would be able to perform the pilgrimage this year.

Speaking in Geneva during the daily coronavirus press conference, Adhanum said the organization supported Saudi Arabia’s decision, adding that all countries must make difficult decisions to put public health at the forefront.

The Saudi Health Ministry said in a daily briefing on the outbreak on Wednesday that failure to adhere to social distancing measures has led to the infection of five families.

A few of the relatives were in critical care, it said.

It said 3,123 virus cases were registered on Wednesday, taking the Kingdom’s tally to 167,267.

Recoveries reached 112,797 after 2,912 more people were declared virus-free.

Forty-one fatalities were reported, taking the toll to 1,387.

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