By Zack Omoro
As from today July 30 to August 2, 2020, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca will be taking place under strict sanitary measures. From open-sources, only up to 10,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to participate in the five-day pilgrimage; Normally, 2.5 million people faithful from around the world attend the celebration. With close to 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, in the country, Saudi Arabia is requiring pilgrims to wear masks, observe physical distancing during the rites, and accede to be subject of testing, temperature checks, and wearing a monitoring-wristbands. Prior to Hajj, pilgrims had been placed in a brief quarantine.
Since Eid al-Adha, the second major Muslim festival, marks the culmination of Hajj, typically entailing large congregations at mosques, family gatherings, and animal sacrifice, It is possible that Kenya and the region could witness a credible risk of spikes in daily new cases of COVID-19 in Muslim-majority counties of former North Eastern provinces and the coast in the near to short term.
Part of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations includes donating part of the meat resulting from the sacrifice to friends and neighbors. This could also be a potential means of spread of COVID -19 thus the precaution taken by the Saudi Authorities.