Riyadh: In an attempt to assist pilgrims and limit human contact to prevent the spread of the novel COVID-19, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched smart robots that will now distribute the holy Zamzam water in the Grand Mosque in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah Al-Munawarrah.
The decision was taken based on the recommendations of the government of Saudi Arabia to bring back the obligation to wear masks and impose physical distancing in all open and closed spaces.
In this regard, the undersecretary of the Zamzam water department for field affairs at the Grand Mosque, Badr Al-Laqmani, stated that the smart robot technology is based on distributing Zamzam water bottles without human intervention.
The smart robots have an automatic control system that can operate for five to eight hours without human help.
A robot distributes 30 packages in one round, which takes 10 minutes, with 20 second long pauses for people to take a bottle of Zamzam water. It does not collide with people or hinder movement, and it has several certificates, including the patent, the European CS certificate.
The highest standards are applied in achieving health quality in terms of taking daily samples and examining them in the administration’s laboratories. All packages are thoroughly checked before they enter the Grand Mosque to ensure that they are free from any impurities or germs.
On November 21, the Kingdom launched Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot guides at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah, which help answer questions of visitors and offer guidance on obligatory rituals.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday recorded its highest-ever number of new daily COVID-19 cases, with 5,362 new infections and two virus-related deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
Saudi Arabia to impose huge fine for violating COVID-19 rules
On January 6, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior announced that those who break social distancing rules in public and private establishments will be fined 1,000 Saudi riyals.
Fines amounting to 1,000 Saudi riyals will be slapped on each violation and in the event of a repeat of the violations, fines will be doubled, up to 100,000 Saudi riyals.
COVID-19 restrictions: Saudi Arabia rules out ‘return to square one’
Saudi Arabia has ruled out re-imposing stricter measures against COVID-19 as the country sees an increase in infection rates amid a global pandemic surge.
Saudi Arabia Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Mohammed Al Abdel Ali has said that “return to square one is most unlikely”, citing herd immunity after the kingdom has pursued vigorous mass vaccinations against COVID-19, since December 2020.
On January 11, the Ministry of Health said that 53 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far.
On December 4, authorities said that COVID-19 vaccine boosters would be considered a requirement to enter public places such as stores, cafes, and other meeting places, starting February.
The decision applies to those 18 years of age or older, who received their second dose of the vaccine at least eight months ago. In August, the Ministry of Interior made two doses of the approved vaccine mandatory for people to enter all public places in the kingdom.