Images of empty space surrounding the Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque

To limit contagion from the coronavirus during religious gatherings, Saudi Arabia emptied Islam's holiest site in Mecca to sterilise it. On Friday, cleaning staff moved in to sanitise the mosque, leaving it empty of worshippers on what would normally be the busiest day of the week.

The decision to ban access was taken on Wednesday, and could affect millions of Muslims ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan and the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia has confirmed five coronavirus cases so far.

Worshippers returned to Islam's holiest site on Saturday after Saudi Arabia temporarily lifted its ban on visitors to the Grand Mosque of Mecca, imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.

Video showed the first group of worshippers walking around the Kaaba, a place of pilgrimage that Muslims are required to visit at least once in their lifetime.