Saudi Authorities Adopt 4-Pillar Plan to Protect Hajj Pilgrims

Security forces seen at the entrance of the holy city of Makkah days before the start of the Hajj pilgrimage. (SPA)

Makkah is preparing to welcome Hajj pilgrims who passed the health standard set by concerned authorities.

“According to the health protocol approved for Hajj; pilgrims who met the health requirements and conditions for this year’s Hajj have begun the seven-day home isolation procedures,” the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia announced on June 22 that it will allow a “limited” number of people to perform the holy pilgrimage this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that those individuals will be of different nationalities but already residing in the Kingdom.

People who are residents in Saudi Arabia make up to 70% of total Hajj pilgrims; while Saudi citizens make up 30% most of whom are from the medical and military sectors.

Exceptional Hajj season

Major General Mohammed bin Wasl Al-Ahmadi, Assistant Commander of the Hajj Security Forces for the Grand Mosque and its premises Security; said that Hajj Security plan for this exceptional year is based on four pillars: the organization, security, humanitarian and health.

He said the Hajj Security Force has put a mechanism fixing ways of entrance and exit from and to the Grand mosque during the Hajj, with passage for pilgrims extending from the southern and western premises of the mosque, as well as special passages around the circumambulation and Saey areas.

For this exceptional Hajj, pilgrims from different nationalities will head to Makkah after finishing their isolation period. They will be spending a number of days in one of Makkah’s hotels; inspected by Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Muhammad Saleh Benten.

While staying at the hotel, pilgrims will receive healthcare inspections to detect any COVID-19 symptoms. After that, they will head to Arafat accompanied by a medical team. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set up tents to accommodate pilgrims at Arafat; and set plans and mechanisms to transport them under social distancing measures.

Unprecedented plans

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, Benten also said that the government has worked out unprecedented plans for the operation of this year’s Hajj; enabling pilgrims to perform their rituals in ease and comfort.

“The comprehensive foolproof plans will be implemented by the security, health and service agencies. The plans include the provision of the best health services; and the most appropriate crowd control; strictly in line with the precautionary measures and preventive protocols; formulated by the Ministry of Health to ensure full safety of pilgrims from the coronavirus pandemic,” he also said.

Benten emphasized the keenness of the Saudi government to implement the Hajj operation by following the highest health standards. Besides, precautionary measures in order to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.