Health and Hajj officials reiterated today that the Kingdom is keen to ensure the safety of visitors and pilgrims and implement this year’s Hajj season in accordance with utmost health precautionary measures, adding that the government, through the Public Health Authority “Weqaya” and the Center for Crowd Medicine, has studied all health aspects and developed procedures that contribute to maintaining the safety and health of pilgrims.
This came during a press conference held today attended by the Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah with the participation of the Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Abdel Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, to talk about the mechanism of organizing this year's Hajj and the decision to limit this year's ritual to domestic pilgrims.
Dr. Al-Rabiah said the Ministry of Health, under the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the follow-up of HRH Crown Prince, announces its readiness to receive visitors and pilgrims during this year's Hajj season, adding that the support of the Kingdom's leadership to confront the pandemic, and the fact that the Kingdom maintains high levels of control over the spread of the virus, have helped increase the number of pilgrims for this year.
He pointed out that the developments related to the Coronavirus are closely monitored by the international community as several countries are witnessing outbreaks of the virus, adding that the Kingdom has acquired vast experience in dealing with crowds, given that it organized the Hajj season for decades during the last period, and it also gained experience in dealing with the epidemic, which enables it to manage the Hajj season with high efficiency.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mashat said the whole world is witnessing an ongoing change of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the emergence of new mutations, which calls for the Kingdom’s constant keenness to enable pilgrims to perform the Hajj and Umrah rituals in safe and healthy conditions, adding that the competent authorities have been closely following up the global health situation to ensure that the Hajj rituals are performed with ease and comfort, taking into account the rapid developments accompanying this epidemic, the worldwide progress in immunizing citizens and residents, and the number of infections, and the constant warnings issued by the World Health Organization, and the concerned authorities in the Kingdom.
He added: "Given the consequences of performing the Hajj rituals and spending long periods of time in a limited area and at certain times, makes the application of the highest levels of health precautions extremely important to protect the health of pilgrims and ensure their safety. Hence, it was decided to allow the performance of Hajj this year for those inside the Kingdom of all nationalities.”
He explained that restricting Hajj to citizens and residents inside the Kingdom comes due to the continuation of the global pandemic and the increase in the number of infections, and the emergence of new mutations, which called on all relevant authorities to ensure that Hajj does not become a source of global transmission of the virus and its variants.
He stressed that the concerned authorities are keen that pilgrims and those serving them are immune, as there will be a continuous follow-up to the safety of pilgrims through the application of a number of health procedures and constant checks, in addition to setting up three additional hospitals in Makkah region fully equipped with health needs, noting that electronic systems will be used to register whoever takes the vaccine via the approved centers to ensure the health and safety of everyone.
For his part, Dr. Mashat explained that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will announce through its electronic portal and communication platforms the registration mechanisms which will be available to those wishing to perform Hajj, both citizens and residents, stressing that the priority for Hajj this year will be for those who have not previously performed Hajj within the specified requirements.
Source: Saudi Press Agency