Saudi Arabia on Friday banned the slaughter of camels during this year's hajj pilgrimage, after a surge in deaths from the MERS virus linked to the animals.
Camels will not be allowed to enter the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, the Permanent Committee for Fatwa said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Hundreds of thousands of faithful from around the world have begun to gather for the annual hajj, which is expected to begin on September 21.
"The Permanent Committee for Fatwa stressed no slaughter of the camels inside the holy sites due to emergence of corona virus," the committee said.
Only sheep and cows will be allowed.