The Grand Mosque within the Muslim holy metropolis of Mecca in Saudi Arabia operated at full capability Sunday, with worshippers praying shoulder-to-shoulder for the primary time because the coronavirus pandemic started.
Employees eliminated flooring markings that information individuals to social distance in and across the Grand Mosque, which is constructed across the Kaaba, the black cubic construction in the direction of which Muslims all over the world pray.
“That is consistent with the choice to ease precautionary measures and to permit pilgrims and guests to the Grand Mosque at full capability,” reported the official Saudi Press Company.
Photos and pictures on Sunday morning confirmed individuals praying aspect by aspect, making straight rows of worshippers which are formations revered in performing Muslim prayers, for the primary time because the Covid-19 pandemic took maintain final yr.
Whereas social distancing measures had been lifted, the authorities mentioned guests have to be absolutely vaccinated in opposition to coronavirus and should proceed to put on masks on mosque grounds.
Additionally, the Kaaba remained cordoned off and out of attain.
Saudi Arabia introduced in August it’ll start accepting vaccinated foreigners eager to make the Umrah pilgrimage.
The Umrah might be undertaken at any time and often attracts thousands and thousands from across the globe, as does the annual Hajj, which abled-bodied Muslims who’ve the means should carry out not less than as soon as of their lifetime.
In July, solely round 60,000 inoculated residents had been allowed to participate in a vastly scaled down type of the annual Hajj.
The Covid-19 pandemic massively disrupted each Muslim pilgrimages, that are often key income earners for the dominion that rake in a mixed $12 billion yearly.
Internet hosting the pilgrimages is a matter of status for Saudi rulers, for whom the custodianship of Islam’s holiest websites is their strongest supply of political legitimacy.
The once-reclusive kingdom started issuing vacationer visas allowing international guests to undertake extra than simply the pilgrimages for the primary time in 2019 as a part of an formidable push to revamp its world picture and diversify revenue.
Between September 2019 and March 2020, it issued 400,000 of them — just for the pandemic to crush that momentum as borders had been closed.
However the kingdom is slowly opening up, and has began welcoming vaccinated international vacationers since August 1.
Saudi Arabia additionally introduced that fully-inoculated sports activities followers will from Sunday be allowed to attend occasions in any respect stadiums and different sports activities services, reported SPA.
It has additionally mentioned that masks in most open areas are not necessary.
Saudi Arabia has registered over 547,000 coronavirus circumstances and eight,760 deaths.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)