Riyadh: The Saudi government is employing the latest information technologies to help control the spread of COVID-19 during this year’s Haj season.
The Ministry of Haj and Umrah said on Sunday that it launched the “Haj smart cards” to facilitate the journey of pilgrims, reports Xinhua news agency.
The cards, equipped with near field communication (NFC) technologies, can be scanned by self-service machines at the holy sites to feed fast and accurate information to the organisers.
The Haj smart card records its holder’s personal, medical and residential information.
It can also help the pilgrims to find locations and gain access to various venues.
Moreover, the kingdom also distributed about 5,000 smart bracelets for pilgrims, which are not only capable of storing the pilgrims’ personal information, but also monitoring their health conditions such as blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and possible exposure to the infectious virus.
It is the second year in a row, in which Saudi Arabia is organising the annual pilgrimage without foreign worshippers as part of precautionary measures against the ongoing pandemic.
About 60,000 Muslims, selected by the authorities from 558,000 registered ones, will take part in the 2021 Haj season, while the number was 2.5 million in 2019.
More than 13 million worshippers wearing masks and observing physical distancing rules have visited the mosques since the seven-month prayer and Umrah suspension was lifted last October.