Very different, symbolic hajj in Saudi Arabia amid virus

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Muslim pilgrims wearing face masks and moving in small groups after days in isolation have begun arriving at Islam’s holiest site in Mecca for the start of a unique and scaled-down hajj experience reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic. The hajj, which started on Wednesday, is intended to bring about greater humility and unity among Muslims. But rather than standing and praying shoulder-to-shoulder in a sea of people from different walks of life, the pilgrims this year in Saudi Arabia are social distancing. They are standing apart and moving in groups of up to 20 to limit exposure and the potential transmission of the virus.