Saudi Arabia Mecca welcomes the largest pilgrimage after Covid-19

A million people from around the world flocked to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, in the biggest pilgrimage since 2019.

Pilgrims in masjid al-Haram must wear masks, while foreigners must have a negative PCR test result.

The church will be “cleaned 10 times a day by 4,000 workers,” using more than 130,000 liters of disinfectant each time, according to management officials.

Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 795,000 infections, of which 9,000 have died across a population of 34 million.

In addition to Covid, another challenge for pilgrims is scorching sunshine in one of the world’s driest and hottest lands, where temperatures reach 50 degrees Celsius in some regions.

But Ahmed Abdul-Hassan al-Fatlawi, a pilgrim from Iraq, said he did not notice the heat. “I’m 60 years old, so it’s normal to feel tired from the heat. But I’m in a state of serenity and this is everything to me,” he said.

Banners welcoming worshippers were decorated throughout the squares and alleyways, while armed security forces patrolled around the old city, the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed.

“We are very happy,” Abdel Qader Kheder, a pilgrim from Sudan, said on July 4, before the official event began on July 6. “I can’t believe I’m here. I’m enjoying every minute.”

Banners welcoming worshippers were decorated throughout the squares and alleyways, while armed security forces patrolled around the old city, the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed.

A million people from around the world flocked to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, in the biggest pilgrimage since 2019.

“We are very happy,” Abdel Qader Kheder, a pilgrim from Sudan, said on July 4, before the official event began on July 6. “I can’t believe I’m here. I’m enjoying every minute.”

Officials said that by July 3, at least 650,000 people from abroad had arrived in Saudi Arabia.

But authorities on Wednesday banned nearly 100,000 people from entering Mecca, setting up security corridors around the holy city.