Iraq limits Shiite pilgrimage to 40,000 foreigners due to Covid-19

Baghdad, Sep 5 (EFE).- Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, only 40,000 foreigners will be allowed to participate in the Arba’een Pilgrimage in the holy southern Iraqi city of Karbala, one of the most important religious events for the Shiites, the Iraqi government announced on Sunday.

A total of 30,000 people will be granted permission to enter the country from Shiite-majority Iran and another 10,000 from the rest of the world, the government media office said in a statement.

Pilgrims must enter the country “exclusively” through Iraq’s airports and present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. The religious rituals are scheduled for Sept. 27-28.

Every year, millions of Iraqis and foreigners take part in the pilgrimage that commemorates the martyrdom in 680 of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and son of Imam Ali, who is considered to be the main religious figure for Shiite Muslims.

Last year, however, the authorities limited participation to just 1,500 pilgrims per country due to the health situation. Eventually, over 14 million people took part in the ritual.

Over the past few months, Iraq has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases, with the daily tally standing at around 5,000 newly detected infections.


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