Jeddah: Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on July 19 praised Saudi Arabia for the measures taken by the kingdom to ensure safety of the pilgrims.
The WHO chief tweeted, ” As the faithful gather to perform #Hajj this year, we welcome the public health planning and steps #SaudiArabia has taken to ensure the safety of pilgrims and their communities during the #COVID19 pandemic”.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabia government is making use of the latest information technologies to control the spread of COVID-19.
In order to facilitate the journey of pilgrims, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah has launched the “Haj smart cards” that stores personal, medical and residential information of its holder. The pilgrims also received smart bracelets that monitor their health conditions such as blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and possible exposure to the infectious virus. The bracelets also store personal information of the pilgrims.
For the second time in a row, the kingdom has not allowed foreign worshipper to take part in the Hajj pilgrimage. Apart from allowing only 60, 000 persons to perform Hajj 2021, the kingdom has taken many other precautionary steps as the threat of COVID-19 still exist.
During pre-COVID times, millions of pilgrims used to perform Hajj every year. In 2019, 2.5 million pilgrims from across the world had performed Hajj.
As Saudi Arabia government used to allow one in one thousand Muslims from India, 1.75 lakh Indian pilgrims performed Hajj in 2019.
Hajj: One of the five pillars of Islam
Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. The other four pillars are Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm.
It is mandatory for Muslims to perform the pilgrimage once-in-a-lifetime if they are physically and financially capable of it.