Coronavirus: Saudi Races to Contain Outbreak in Mecca

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Saudi authorities are racing to contain an outbreak of coronavirus in the Islamic holy city of Mecca, where crowded areas have accelerated the spread even with much of the country under a 24-hour curfew.

The total number of coronavirus cases reported in Mecca, home to 2 million people, reached 1,050 on Monday compared to 1,422 in the capital of Riyadh, a city more than three times the size. Mecca’s large number of undocumented immigrants and cramped housing for migrant workers have made it more difficult to slow the infection rate.

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Shielding Mecca from a pandemic that’s overwhelmed countries like Italy and the United States is crucial for Saudi Arabia because of the city’s significance to the world’s Muslims.

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