Thousands of vaccinated, socially distanced and masked Muslim pilgrims circled Islam’s holiest site in Mecca on Sunday with a small portion of the usual crowd flocking to the Saudi Arabian city for the Hajj.
About 60,000 vaccinated citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia are allowed to participate in this year’s Hajj, which saw a sharp cut in numbers for the second year in a row. Over the years the event has attracted millions of Muslims from all over the world. Hajj is a religious duty that is required at least once by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially able to undertake the pilgrimage.
The COVD-induced rule changes erode the ability of people outside Saudi Arabia to meet Islamic obligations and cost the country billions of dollars. Islamic pilgrimages last about five days, but traditionally Muslims begin arriving in Mecca weeks ahead of time. The Hajj culminates with the Eid al-Adha celebration, which is marked by the distribution of meat to the poor around the world.
Also in the news:
Three Democratic Texas state lawmakers who fled Washington, D.C. to pass a restrictive, GOP-backed voting law have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Texas House Democratic caucus leadership.
More than 100,000 people protested across France on Saturday against the government’s latest measures to vaccinate people and prevent rising infections from the delta version of the coronavirus.
Arizona on Saturday reported more than 1,000 additional COVID-19 cases for the fourth day in a row as virus-related hospitalizations continued to increase.
The British government is still planning to lift all remaining legal restrictions on social contact, as well as other public health measures, on Monday with Britain registering more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in six months and a dire warning Despite the British government’s top medical adviser on Monday.
Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation announced on Facebook that all visitors to tribal health facilities must wear a mask and limit the number of visitors to a patient allowed.
Today’s issue: The US has more than 34 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 608,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 190 million cases and over 4 million deaths. According to the CDC, approximately 159 million Americans — 47.9% of the population — have been fully vaccinated.
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Alabama hospital sending COVID-19 vaccination team to Peru
A South Alabama hospital that vaccinated thousands of people against COVID-19 plans to send a team to vaccinate Peru, which has been hit by the pandemic. USA Health said more than 20 volunteers will travel to the country’s Cusco region. CerviCusco, a non-governmental agency in Peru, sought assistance, the health system said in a statement. USA Health has provided more than 75,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines on the US Gulf Coast, including large-scale clinics where more than 2,200 people receive injections daily.
“We plan to travel to Peru in mid-August to establish procedures and protocols for safe and efficient vaccine delivery, with the goal of providing 5,000 doses to the Peruvian people,” said Natalie Fox, assistant administrator and chief nursing officer. ” For the USA Health Physician Group.
Must be vaccinated in Los Angeles and Las Vegas as well
Health officials in popular tourist destinations such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas are asking more people to wear masks indoors. The Southern Nevada Health District is now advising people regardless of vaccination status to wear masks in crowded indoor public places — including at Las Vegas casinos. Los Angeles County has also announced that it will reinstate an indoor masking policy due to the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases, and more counties in California are joining the list.
The mask guidelines are meant to help prevent the spread of COVID and the highly contagious delta variant, which has led to a spike in daily cases in some areas across the US.
— Bailey Schultz,
Tokyo 2020 organizers report first COVID-19 case in Olympic Village
The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee reported the first positive case of COVID-19 in the Olympic Village on Saturday. The unidentified person, listed by the organizers only as “sports-related personnel”, was staying at a hotel. Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said at a news conference that he had no idea whether the person had been vaccinated. And committee chairman Seiko Hashimoto said organizers are doing everything in their power to make sure the Olympic Village – like all venues and facilities – is as safe as possible.
The unnamed Olympic Village resident is one of 44 people associated with the Games who have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1, according to the organizers. Fourteen of these cases were reported on Saturday. Twenty-eight of the 44 positives include Tokyo 2020 contractors. Read more
— Tom Shad,