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Small groups of pilgrims celebrated one of the last rites of the hajj pilgrimage on Friday as Muslims around the world marked the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday amid the global pandemic.The final days of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia coincide with the four-day Eid al-Adha, or feast of sacrifice, in which Muslims slaughter cattle and distribute meat to the poor.

The pandemic has pushed millions of people around the world closer to the brink of poverty, making it harder for many to respect the religious tradition of buying cattle.

In Somalia, the price of meat has increased slightly. Abdishakur Dahir, an official from Mogadishu, said for the first time he would not be able to afford a goat for Eid due to the impact of the virus on work.

“I could barely buy food for my family,” Dahir said. “We are surviving just for the moment. Life is getting more difficult every day. ”

In parts of West Africa, the price of the ram has doubled. Cattle sellers, accustomed to getting good deals in the days leading up to the holidays, said sales had declined and those who bought could not afford much.

It’s a tough market, said Oumar Maiga, a cattle trader in Côte d’Ivoire: “We are in a situation that we have never seen in other years.

The hajj pilgrimage has also been severely affected by the virus. Last year some 2.5 million pilgrims attended, but this year barely 1,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia were allowed to perform the hajj.

Saudi Arabia’s health ministry said there had been no cases of Covid-19 disease among pilgrims this year. The government has taken many precautions, including testing pilgrims for the virus, monitoring their movements with electronic bracelets, and requiring them to self-quarantine before and after the hajj. Pilgrims were selected after applying through an online portal and all had to be between 20 and 50 years old.

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