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Thousands of Muslims Gather for Pilgrimage Event in Senegal Amid Concerns of a COVID-19 Outbreak

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Authorities in Senegal are hoping Tuesday’s Muslim celebration of Grand Magal in the holy city of Touba will not become a spreader event for the coronavirus. Tens of thousands of worshippers have gathered for the main event of the Grand Magal pilgrimage, which pays homage to the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, Senegal’s most influential religious order.  Although the religious celebration is not expected to draw the crowds of previous celebrations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities in the West African country remain concerned about a possible uptick in COVID-19 infections.Wearing protective masks, women stand in line to enter the Grand Mosque of Touba as they take part in the celebrations of the Grand Magal of Touba, Senegal, Oct. 5, 2020.Senegal, which was among the first African countries to confirm a coronavirus case, has managed to keep its case toll down partly because of strict travel restrictions and most people complying with the mandatory mask requirement.   But some crowds of worshippers reportedly have been spotted ignoring social distancing and not wearing masks. So far, Senegal has confirmed more than 15,000 coronavirus infections and 312 deaths. 

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