Hajj saudi arabia grand mosque
Worshippers throng the courtyard of the Grand Mosque around the Holy Kaaba, in this file photo. Image Credit: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj

Cairo: Saudi health authorities have decided to use drones to transfer blood during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage season, according to a media report.

The drones will be officially utilised in carrying blood units and lab samples among hospitals at the holy sites in the Mina valley and Arafat, where annual Hajj reaches its peak, during the upcoming season, Saudi news portal Akhbar24 reported.

Late last year, the Saudi Ministry of Health carried out a drill with the Saudi Post (SPL) to transfer blood aboard drones among the holy sites near Mecca to ensure swiftness and safety in ambulatory services provided for pilgrims.

The success of the drill gave the green light to the implementation of the project as part of efforts to upgrade quality of health services made available to pilgrims and help handle emergencies during the annual huge gathering.

The technique cuts the blood transport service to two minutes instead of two and half hours when transported by the traditional means, the report said.

Nearly 2 million pilgrims from around the world performed Hajj in and around Mecca last year, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

Saudi Arabia has recently disclosed rules for the upcoming Hajj season due in June and stressed early preparations. According to these rules, no specific places would be allotted any more for countries at the holy sites in the new pilgrimage season, Saudi Minister of Hajj Tawfiq Al Rabiah has said.

He explained that places for different countries will be designated depending on finalising contracts.

The new mechanism aims at facilitating preparations for Hajj, an obligatory Islamic duty that must be carried out at least once in a lifetime by Muslims who can afford it physically and financially.