Cairo: Authorities in the Saudi holy city of Mecca are preparing for next month’s Hajj pilgrimage, to be attended by 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
All sectors in the city, home to Islam’s holiest site, have been prepared to help implement a plan aimed to ensure a smooth Hajj season, according to officials.
“The Mecca municipality has mobilised all human and financial resources supported by teams from other sectors including General Security to provide high-quality services to pilgrims,” acting head of the city’s municipality Saleh bin Ali said.
Tasks have been laid down for each sector with everyone joining forces under a “tight plan” to be in effect since the start of the Hajj season until its end, he was quoted by Okaz newspaper as saying.
Around 22,000 personnel in different sectors have been mobilised to implement the Hajj plan, said the city’s assistant head for Hajj and Umrah Khalid bin Abdullah.
They are linked to municipal, emergency maintenance, lighting, cleaning, and healthcare services, he added.
Saudi Arabia has said it will allow 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to perform this year’s Hajj due in July, after restricting the annual ritual to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to the pandemic.
Eligible pilgrims this year must be under 65, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a negative PCR test result of a sample collected within 72 hours from departure to the kingdom.
Around 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic.