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Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, as they keep social destination to protect themselves against the coronavirus ahead of the Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. (AP Photo)
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims entering the site of Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows the first group of pilgrims praying after they ended circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows the first group of pilgrims praying after they ended circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows a pilgrim receiving water at the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims entering the site of Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows a pilgrim praying at the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows the first group of pilgrims leaving after circumambulating the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims leaving after circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims leaving after circumambulating around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture obtained from the Saudi ministry of media on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia began on July 29 hosting the annual hajj pilgrimage, dramatically downscaled due to the coronavirus pandemic that has barred millions of international pilgrims for the first time in modern history. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / SAUDI MINISTRY OF MEDIA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / Saudi Ministry of Media / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / SAUDI MINISTRY OF MEDIA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows the first group of female pilgrims praying in the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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A picture obtained from the Saudi ministry of media on July 29, 2020 shows pilgrims around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia began on July 29 hosting the annual hajj pilgrimage, dramatically downscaled due to the coronavirus pandemic that has barred millions of international pilgrims for the first time in modern history. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / SAUDI MINISTRY OF MEDIA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / Saudi Ministry of Media / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / SAUDI MINISTRY OF MEDIA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
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A picture taken on July 29, 2020 shows the first group of female pilgrims praying in the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca at the start of the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings. / AFP / STR
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Updated 29 July 2020

Pilgrims begin Hajj amid precautionary measures

Pilgrims begin Hajj amid precautionary measures

Mask-clad Muslim pilgrims began the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi authorities strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage. The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world's largest religious gatherings.