Hajj pilgrims being garlanded by their family members as they leave for pilgrimage to Mecca, at IGI airport in New Delhi. Image Credit: ANI

Cairo: As thousands of pilgrims are heading to Saudi Arabia to attend next month’s Hajj pilgrimage, authorities in the kingdom have exhorted the faithful to observe a set of recommendations to keep physically fit before and during the journey.

To avoid physical exhaustion during Hajj, the pilgrims are urged before arrival to explore the journey and rites, learn about the distances between the holy places where the rituals are undertaken, to daily exercise and avert tough tasks, according to the Saudi Ministry of Hajj.

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While performing the Hajj rites, the pilgrims are advised to wear sports or medical shoes, shun heavy meals, rest enough after rites and drink adequate amounts of fluids, the ministry said.

Overseas pilgrims are required to get the Neisseria meningitidis vaccine administered prior to their arrival, and verified by a certificate from their respective home countries.

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They must also be vaccinated against polio, COVID-19 and seasonal flu as part of efforts to protect pilgrims’ health and safety during the annual Islamic congregation.

Domestic pilgrims are, meanwhile, required to complete Hajj-related vaccinations including inoculations against COVID-19, the seasonal influenza, and meningitis ahead of the pilgrimage rites.

The Ministry of Hajj has said the vaccinations are available at the primary healthcare centres, and called for mandatory registration in the Health Ministry’s Sehaty app before the pilgrims’ arrival in the Saudi holy city of Mecca.

Some 267,657 pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia from several countries until Sunday via the kingdom’s air, land and sea entry points to perform this year’s Hajj, which is expected to commence on June 14, depending on the sighting of the new moon. Temperatures usually shoot up in June.

Hajj is one of Islam’s five obligatory duties. Muslims, who can physically and financially afford Hajj, have to perform it at least once in a lifetime.