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Fear of virus cuts turnout for hajj in Saudi Arabia

Fear of virus cuts turnout for hajj

The Islamic world's annual pilgrimage to Mecca came to an orderly and peaceful conclusion Tuesday, with less than half as many Muslims taking part in the hajj this year due to fears that a Middle East-based respiratory illness could spread among the throngs of faithful. At least 51 people have died in Saudi Arabia over the past year from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a virus related to SARS, which killed hundreds worldwide a decade ago. Limits on visas for foreigners hoping to take part in the pilgrimage that all able-bodied Muslims are expected to fulfill at least once in their lifetime cut the number arriving from abroad to 1.38 million, the Public Statistics Department said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. About 3.2 million traveled to Mecca and other hajj sites last year.

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Times wires

Fear of virus cuts turnout for hajj in Saudi Arabia 10/15/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:01pm]

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