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#6436 [Permalink] Posted on 11th June 2020 15:46
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#6437 [Permalink] Posted on 11th June 2020 15:56
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20% of 2.5m hajis is still 500k which is optimistic.
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#6438 [Permalink] Posted on 11th June 2020 16:57
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Things are changing daily.

Currently, the virus is on the rise in Saudi Arabia, but they are doing well to keep people safe. There are more recoveries alhumdulillah and the death rate is still fairly low. The number of infected people is rising on a daily basis, approximately 3000 new infections a day.

So things can go either way.
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#6439 [Permalink] Posted on 11th June 2020 17:27
Saudi Arabia sees surge in coronavirus cases, reports 3,733 new infections
Barring Makkah and Jeddah, mosques in Kingdom to open 40 minutes before the call to Friday prayers

June 11

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia reported on Thursday 3,733 new coronavirus infections, surpassing the 3,000-mark for six consecutive days.

This is the highest ever daily toll since the outbreak of the pandemic, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom to 116,012, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.

The Kingdom is witnessing a surge in new coronavirus cases after it began to ease coronavirus restrictions.

The ministry also announced 38 new deaths, taking the total number of virus-related fatalities in the Kingdom to 857.

Meanwhile, a total of 2,065 more patients have recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 80,019.

Of the total 3,733 new cases, 1,431 were recorded in Riyadh, while Jeddah, Makkah, Dammam and Hufof registered 294, 293, 214 and 206 respectively.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance has decided to bring forward the time of opening mosques for Friday prayers in all Kingdom’s regions except Makkah and Jeddah.

Now all the mosques in the Kingdom will open 40 minutes before the call for Friday from this week until further notice. This decision comes within protocols approved by the competent authorities to avoid overcrowding.
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#6440 [Permalink] Posted on 11th June 2020 21:44
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#6441 [Permalink] Posted on 12th June 2020 15:19
Saudi Arabia is considering cancelling the hajj pilgrimage season for the first time

www.ft.com/content/5b2364be-42cb-4973-a10d-52ba62b1b0df

Religious pilgrims were expected to generate $12bn for the kingdom before the pandemic struck

Saudi Arabia is considering cancelling the hajj pilgrimage season for the first time since the kingdom was founded in 1932, after cases of coronavirus in the country topped 100,000.

“The issue has been carefully studied and different scenarios are being considered. An official decision will be made within one week,” a senior official from Saudi Arabia’s hajj and umrah ministry told the Financial Times.

The annual ritual held in late July is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, attracting about 2m people to the kingdom every year. But after the organisers of global events including the Olympic Games in Tokyo were forced to delay or cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi officials have faced growing pressure to take action.


One proposal is to allow a small number of local pilgrims to perform hajj, while observing strict health precautions. Another possibility is to cancel the pilgrimage season altogether. “All options are on the table but the priority is for the health and safety of pilgrims,” the official said.


While Saudi Arabia has managed to organise hajj during previous viral outbreaks such as Ebola and MERS, the global scale of the coronavirus pandemic presents a far more difficult challenge.

The government was early to enforce measures that helped control the virus after the first case was confirmed on March 2, including restrictions on travel and a two-month nationwide curfew. But after the kingdom began to ease the lockdown in late May, the number of daily cases and deaths have spiked. More than 3,000 cases were reported daily over the past six days and deaths totalled 857 by Thursday.

Visiting the holy Saudi city of Mecca to perform hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. During the week-long trip, pilgrims pray in the Grand Mosque, circumambulate the Kaaba — a cube structure draped in black in the mosque’s main courtyard — and visit Mount Arafat. The rituals conclude with Eid al-Adha, a celebration that marks the end of hajj when pilgrims replace their white ihram robes with regular clothes and sacrifice sheep, goats and camels.


Pilgrims pray at Mount Arafat, south-east of Mecca, where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed gave a sermon to his followers 14 centuries ago © Fethi Belaid/AFP
The fact that hajj rituals must take place in the second week of the Muslim month of Dhu al-Hijja — which falls this year from July 29 to August 4 — means the pilgrimage cannot be postponed and that there are tight schedules to finalise travel and accommodation plans.

The Saudi government, which takes great pride in organising hajj and hosting religious visitors, imposes national quotas on the number of pilgrims from each country each year. Leaders of Muslim nations often petition the Saudi king, whose official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to increase their national quota as demand outstrips supply and the waiting list can be as long as 30 years.


Loosening lockdowns: tracking governments’ changing coronavirus responses | Free to read
The biggest allocation goes to Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, which usually sends around 200,000 pilgrims. But this year, Indonesian officials have said their citizens will not travel.

“In May, we prepared two options: a 50 per cent quota reduction or cancellation. [But] Saudi Arabia has not opened access to hajj pilgrims from any country to date,” Fachrul Razi, Indonesia's religious affairs minister, told local media earlier this month. “As a result, the government doesn’t have enough time to make primary preparations for services and protection of pilgrims.”

Malaysia said on Thursday it would also not send pilgrims this year.


Saudi Arabia in late February suspended umrah, which is known as the lesser pilgrimage and can be performed year-round, as a result of the virus. A month later, the government advised Muslims seeking to perform the hajj pilgrimage this year to delay making travel arrangements until there was more clarity on the extent of the outbreak.

The government had ambitious targets for the expansion of the religious tourism sector before the pandemic hit. Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic reform programme, the kingdom aimed to double the number of foreign umrah pilgrims to 15m by the end of 2020.

Umrah and hajj pilgrims combined were expected to spend more than $12bn this year. The probable loss of most of that revenue will put more pressure on an economy that has already been hit by the twin shocks of the oil price collapse and the pandemic. Hotels and religious tourism operators in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina will be particularly affected.


Saudi Arabia suspended international travel on May 20, a ban that would need to be lifted if the hajj is to go ahead.

The current pattern of hajj has been held regularly since the year 630. It has been disrupted for political, economic or health reasons on about 40 occasions, all before the founding of modern Saudi Arabia in 1932, according to a report by the Riyadh-based King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives.

Whatever action Saudi Arabia takes, the decision will be fraught with political and economic consequences at home and abroad, according to Yasmine Farouk, a visiting scholar at the Middle East Program of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“If they go ahead with hajj while the current Covid-19 situation doesn’t improve, they might incur unprecedented pressure on their health system, international criticism and maybe even demands for compensation,” Ms Farouk said. “If they decide against hajj, the economy — especially local economies of Mecca and Medina — will suffer.”
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#6442 [Permalink] Posted on 12th June 2020 19:46
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#6443 [Permalink] Posted on 15th June 2020 01:00
Riyadh continues on top as KSA reports 4,233 new cases

RIYADH — The Saudi capital on Sunday again reeled under the impact of a surge in coronavirus cases in the Kingdom with 1,735 new infections out of a record 4,233 fresh countrywide cases. The total number of cases in Saudi Arabia now stands at 127,541, the ministry of health said. It also reported 40 virus-related deaths during the last 24 hours increasing the toll to 972.

The new cases were the highest number of daily reported infections in the country so far. The recent surge in coronavirus cases in Riyadh has mainly been detected among young people who may not have been following precautionary measures, an official at the Kingdom’s health ministry said on Saturday.

Health ministry spokesman Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali said on Sunday said that 90 percent of the total confirmed Covid-19 cases were reported in Riyadh, adding that citizens and residents in the area must adhere to social distancing measures.

The second highest number of new cases was confirmed in Jeddah, where a total of 352 infections were reported. Makkah reported 314 infections while there were 161 cases in Dammam, 158 in Madinah, 147 in Hufof, 144 in Qatif and 137 in Wadi Al-Dwasir. The rest of the cases were scattered in different cities across the Kingdom.
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#6444 [Permalink] Posted on 15th June 2020 19:30
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#6445 [Permalink] Posted on 16th June 2020 14:01
If I had a say, I would recommend that the Saudi government to use the sprinkler system with non fragrant sanitiser instead of water, and constantly cleanse the people on the walk way in and around Makkah, Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat.

The infrastructure is already there.

Reduce the number of pilgrims, pass a fatwa to allow face masks that latch around the ear or to wear a full face shield.

Have temperature sensors installed all around the entrances.

If not allowing Hujjaj to enter from other countries, let the locals who have never done Hajj, allow them to participate.

Instead of having 2-3 million people, let 20% perform Hajj.
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#6446 [Permalink] Posted on 16th June 2020 14:29
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#6447 [Permalink] Posted on 18th June 2020 23:48
Saudi Arabia records 4,757 new coronavirus cases, 48 deaths

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia on Thursday recorded 4,757 new coronavirus cases, the second-highest single-day number of COVID-19 infections since the outbreak of the pandemic in the Kingdom.


The Kingdom has seen over 4,000 cases for the fifth consecutive day with the highest number of infections (4,919) reported on Wednesday.

The Health Ministry also announced 48 more fatalities, taking the death toll to 1,139, while the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the Kingdom has risen to 145,991.

According to Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali, 2,253 more people have recovered from the virus, raising the total number of recoveries in the country to 93,915.

Riyadh recorded the highest number of infections with 1,442 cases reported in a single day, followed by Makkah with 399 and Jeddah with 300.

The spokesman also said that there are currently 50,937 active cases and all of them are receiving necessary medical care. Of the total active cases, 1,877 are in critical health condition, while the condition of the rest is stable.
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#6448 [Permalink] Posted on 20th June 2020 12:45
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The number of infected people in Saudi Arabia are rising very fast. Close to 5000 new infections a day. Yet, they plan on lifting many restrictions tomorrow.

It doesn't make sense, but it is what it is
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#6449 [Permalink] Posted on 20th June 2020 13:18
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I think many governments are resigned to the concept of herd immunity now.
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#6450 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd June 2020 19:55
Saudi Arabia: Hajj 2020 to be held with very limited number of pilgrims.

Decision taken due to the ongoing threat from the coronavirus pandemic.

Pilgrims will come from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia.
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