COVID-19 infections are exploding around the world. In a report by Zero Hedge, a study has found that 70% of residents in Mecca, the holy city of Islam and the center of the Islamic religion, have COVID-19. It is so bad that considering how millions of pilgrims come, hospitals are being set up just to deal with the pandemic.
By far the largest annual gathering of humans in the world is the pilgrimage to Mecca, which in 2018 alone saw about 2.4 million Muslims make the religious trip. Perhaps it was too late even by that point? A new report in Middle East Eye suggests nearly 70% of Mecca, or more than two million residents, has the virus based on recent rounds of broad testing, also amid the growing threat to the Saudi Royal family:
According to three senior Saudi medical sources, nearly 70 percent of Mecca’s more than two million residents are estimated to be carriers of the virus, according to recent random testing conducted in the holy city.
Saudi Arabia has so far recorded 21,402 cases and 157 deaths from Covid-19. These are the highest numbers in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Mecca’s Kaaba, normally site of millions of Muslim pilgrims on ‘Hajj’ sits empty, via Reuters.
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“The actual spread of the disease could be three to four times higher than the declared one,” an anonymous medical official was quoted as saying in the report. “Saudi health authorities expect the peak to be sometime in June.”
A month ago the kingdom tightened restrictions further in key cities, including the imposition of a strict 24-hour curfew on the pilgrimage cities of Mecca and Medina. This after a country-wide lockdown was issued starting March 25.
Since then hospitals have reportedly become “overwhelmed” according to several international reports.
The alarming report also comes on the heels of recent New York Times reporting which said some 150 members of the royal family are being treated for COVID-19 at elite units of regional hospitals set up for that purpose. (source)
Remember, people make not only the Hajj- which is happening right now for Ramadan -but come all year on what is called the Umrah, or minor pilgrimage (not during Ramadan).
Millions of people come to Mecca during Ramadan for the Hajj. They are all packed together.
One could not ask for better conditions to spread a pandemic.
COVID-19 is not going away. In fact, Ramadan could become a watershed month as millions of Muslims accidentally contract the disease while on pilgrimage and spread it to their nations far and wide as they return home and cause a resurgence of the disease throughout the Middle East, India, Indonesia, and Africa.