Wednesday Jul 07 2021

Saudi Arabia launches operational plan for Hajj 2021

File photo of the Grand Mosque.
File photo of the Grand Mosque.

President for the General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Dr Abdurrahman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais and acting minister of media Dr Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi launched the operational plan for Hajj season 1442 H (2021).

Addressing the ceremony through videoconference, Al-Qasabi said the country’s leaders and people are honoured to serve the Two Holy Mosques and all who come to them as pilgrims or visitors.

“The Kingdom’s government has enabled all the concerned sectors in the country to facilitate the service of pilgrims, and to harness all the security, safety and health capabilities to facilitate the services (that allow) pilgrims to perform the rituals of Hajj with ease,” he added.

Al-Qasabi said this year’s Hajj pilgrimage will be the second under the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and takes place as new variants of the coronavirus continue to emerge.

He added that the decision to limit Hajj to 60,000 pilgrims, all of them from inside the Kingdom, aims to protect them and ensure their rituals can be carried out as safely as possible, Arab News reported.

Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said the authority is working to put in place all possible health precautions, while also ensuring that the Hajj rituals can take place, the experience is enriched, and proper hospitality is provided in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. He added that the presidency’s plans are based on several pillars that highlight the values of generosity and hospitality in providing services to the pilgrims.

Regarding the provision of water to pilgrims, Al-Sudais said that the presidency will hand out bottles of sterilized Zamzam water.

The latest artificial intelligence technology will be employed to distribute the water using robots and high-tech smart vehicles, he added, in accordance with precautionary procedures.

Al-Sudais said the presidency will provide more than 800 manual and electric vehicles to help people move around within the Grand Mosque and its courtyards and make it easier for the elderly and the disabled pilgrims to perform their rituals.

Al-Sudais also revealed that about 5,000 workers have been recruited to sterilize the Grand Mosque, its courtyards and other facilities 10 times a day, using more than 60,000 litres of disinfectant and the latest cleaning technologies.

The presidency also plans to provide gifts, including umbrellas and sterilizers, that will make it easier, safer and more comfortable for pilgrims to perform their rituals.

He added that the presidency’s plans, prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and other relevant authorities, include an increase in the number of paths for pilgrims to follow inside the mosque.

Al-Sudais also said the sermons in the Two Holy Mosques and the sermon on the Arafat Day will be translated into ten languages for “nearly 100 million listeners".