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Saudi Arabia confirms scaled-down Haj pilgrimage start date

Officials say the annual pilgrimage will only include around 1,000 Muslim pilgrims due to Covid-19.

This year’s Haj, which has been scaled back dramatically to include only around 1,000 Muslim pilgrims as Saudi Arabia battles a coronavirus surge, will begin on July 29, authorities said Monday.

Some 2.5 million people from all over the world usually participate in the ritual that takes place over several days, centred on the holy city of Mecca.

This year’s Haj will be held under strict hygiene protocols, with access limited to pilgrims under 65 years old and without any chronic illnesses.

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