Saudi Authorities Weigh Cancellation Of Hajj Pilgrimage Amid COVID-19

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Saudi Authorities Weigh Cancellation Of Hajj Pilgrimage Amid COVID-19
Two-and-a-half million people make the trip to Mecca annually but the coronavirus may force cancelation of Hajj.
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Saudi Arabia is battling a second wave of coronavirus, with cases topping 145,000. And there's a chance the spike will disrupt the most important event in Islam, the hajj pilgrimage.

The country reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 1. After putting in place strict lockdown measures, new daily cases were cut in half by the end of May. 

Saudi authorities eased the lockdown and cases doubled again in early June. Now it's reimposed restrictions and is looking at putting limits or even a complete ban on the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The hajj is a journey to the holy site Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Every Muslim is supposed to make the pilgrimage  — if they're able — at least once in their life. Two-and-a-half million people do every year, bringing in about $12 billion for Saudi Arabia.

Four countries have canceled plans for their citizens to travel for Hajj. If the event is canceled entirely, it will be the first time in modern history.