The strategy and guidelines laid out by Saudi Arabia’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry for this year’s Ramadan season have succeeded in safely easing the flow of Muslim pilgrims and worshipers visiting Makkah’s Grand Mosque during Islam’s holy month of fasting.
Worshipers have shown a commitment to all guidelines, Saudi Deputy Hajj and Umrah Minister Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that the minor violations recorded had no substantial impact on the safe flow of pilgrims at holy sites.
Mashat reaffirmed that the implementation of coronavirus preventive health measures and social distancing is being monitored daily at the Grand Mosque and Madinah’s Prophet’s Mosque.
Mashat , for the time being, also ruled out further expanding the capacity for the number of pilgrims accommodated at the two mosques each day during Ramadan.
It is worth noting that the Grand Mosque can accommodate 50,000 vaccinated Umrah pilgrims and 100,000 worshipers daily.
Mashat noted that at established entry points each pilgrim gets their permit checked and then assigned to a zone and specific timing to perform Umrah rituals or prayers.
The deputy minister stressed the importance of coordination between the Hajj and Umrah ministry and security authorities to guarantee a smooth operation and the safety of accommodated worshipers.
Mashat noted that only 20 passengers are being allowed onboard each bus transporting Umrah pilgrims from/to holy sites. More so, the pilgrims are being accompanied by a health supervisor to ensure that protocols are being fully implemented.
During the last 10 days of Ramadan, the ministry will make sure to tighten the monitoring of arriving pilgrims to ensure that they carry valid permits and are not violating health measures.
This comes as a proactive measure to guarantee that the predicted increase in the influx of pilgrims does not lead to a hike in the rate of violations.
Mashat stressed that health and preventive measures are being applied to all pilgrims, whether they are local or foreign.