Umrah Suspended, Khan-e-Kaaba Gets Sterilised
Saudi bans travel to Makka, Medina while Khan-e-Kaaba gets sterlised
Recently, Saudi Arabia announced that the citizens and the residents cannot perform Umrah due to Coronavirus. This move came after the nation suspended visas for Umrah and stopped citizens from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) from arriving at Makkah and Medina last week.
Moreover, they cleared out the Khan-e-Kaaba on Thursday for sterilisation. State Television showed pictures of an empty white-tiled area, however tens of thousands of people fill up the Khan-e-Kaaba regularly. There have been misunderstandings about the closure of Grand Mosque. The State representatives have been clarifying that the upper floors are available for prayers. Only the Mataf is closed to access. News has been surfacing about the closure of Mounts Sarwa and Marwa too.
Umrah is the pilgrimage that Muslims perform all year round. According to the Saudi Government’s website as of December 2019, they welcome around 2 million pilgrims on a weekly basis, and issues about 2.3 million visas. Pakistan is the nation that sends the most pilgrims weekly, estimated to be around 373,000. The move to suspend Umrah comes just before Ramadan – this month is considered as a favored month for pilgrimage. The months of Rajab and Shaban are also considered sacred.
What is the current situation in Saudi Arabia?
As of now, 5 people have been infected with Coronavirus. The State has closed off all of the Zamzam water dispensaries. They have also banned food in holy mosques to help curtail the virus. A spokesperson from the Health Ministry in Saudi stated that the nation is preparing 25 hospitals to handle any cases that may come forth. So far, there seems to be no information about Hajj.
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