Saudi Arabia: Mecca Grand Mosque drops social distancing

Saudi Arabia’s grand mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca operated at full capacity on October 17 dropping the social distancing first time after the Covid outbreak. 

Floor markings were there earlier around the black cubic structure of the Grand Mosque towards which Muslims pray. The markings were taken away by the officials that denote the social distancing of at least 2 meters around the floor. 

Saudi Press Agency reported, “This is in line with the decision to minimize precautionary measures and to allow pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque at full capacity.”

The ministry earlier said that the country’s two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina would be open to those who are fully vaccinated. The decision was made after the kingdom reported a sharp decline in daily infections and a considerable development in vaccinations, as reported by Reuters. After the decision, the ministry further implemented the same. 

Videos and photos have been recorded by media in which it showed people praying side by side, making straight rows of worshippers that are formations revered in performing Muslim prayers, etc. The Kaaba, towards which Muslims around the world pray, was rounded off and was out of reach.

The Saudi government said masks are no longer mandatory at public open places in the country, although it is still imposed at closed venues. Moreover, authorities said visitors must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus and should show respective documents.

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Around 60,000 vaccinated citizens and residents were allowed to take part in a vastly scaled-down form of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in July. August 1 onwards the Kingdom started welcoming vaccinated foreign tourists and opened the border.

Moreover, the Saudi authorities also lifted curbs on fully vaccinated people at closed venues, gatherings, transportation, restaurants, and cinemas.