Saudi Arabia is expected to scale back or call off this year's Hajj pilgrimage for the first time in its modern history, observers say, a perilous decision as coronavirus cases spike, SIA reports.
Muslim nations are pressing Riyadh to give its much-delayed decision on whether the annual ritual will go ahead as scheduled in late July.
But as the kingdom negotiates a call fraught with political and economic risks in a tinderbox region, time is running out to organise logistics for one of the world's largest mass gatherings. A full-scale Hajj, which last year drew about 2.5 million pilgrims, appears increasingly unlikely after authorities advised Muslims in late March to defer preparations due to the fast-spreading disease.
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