Cairo: Over 70 thermal cameras have been installed at the gates of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, Saudi media said.
The cameras, overseen by 500 employees, function to check temperatures of Umrah pilgrims and visitors of the holy site, an official said.
“The thermal cameras monitor the body temperature to expose suspected symptoms of COVID-19,” head of the Environmental Prevention Directorate at the Grand Mosque, Hassan bin Barakat, added.
The high-fidelity cameras, installed six metres at most from the worshippers, are able to specify any visitor having a high temperature, he said.
The devices are part of measures enforced at the entrances of the mosque, including marked tracks to ensure distancing among worshippers and an easy access to the sacred site.
Saudi Arabia has increased capacity of the Grand Mosque in the holy month of Ramadan to reach 50,000 Umrah pilgrims and 100,000 worshippers per day. Ramadan is usually a peak season for the Umrah or minor pilgrimage.
Last week, authorities announced that only “immunised” people against COVID-19 will be allowed to perform the Umrah, and visit the Prophet’s Mosque starting from the beginning of Ramadan.
The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has defined the eligible “immunised” categories as those who have received two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19; those receiving a single dose of inoculation at least 14 days in advance; and those who have recovered from the virus infection.
The kingdom so far has registered a total of 397,636 virus cases and 6,747 fatalities.