Badr Al Dulami during an inspection tour. Image Credit: Roads General Authority

Cairo: A network of roads in Saudi Arabia have been readied as part of the kingdom’s preparations now in full swing to receive hundreds of thousands of Muslims from across the globe for next month’s Hajj pilgrimage.

Deputy Minister of Transport and Logistics services Badr Al Dulami inspected several roads leading to the holy sites in the kingdom and made sure of their preparedness to receive the pilgrims, the ministry said.

The official travelled across six cities for two days to inspect safety and upkeep of the roads including a highway linking the capital Riyadh and Taif in western Saudi Arabia, the ministry added.

His inspection tour also took him to the holy places including Mecca and Medina.

In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia has stepped up preparations for the upcoming Hajj season when the pre-pandemic numbers of pilgrims will be reinstated.

The first group of pilgrims are expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia next week.

Hajj, one of Islam’s five obligatory duties, is due late next month this year.

Saudi Arabia has said that there will be no limits on the numbers of pilgrims from around the world for the coming Hajj season, reversing earlier restrictions prompted by the pandemic.

In the past two years, Saudi Arabia downsized the numbers of Muslims allowed to perform the Hajj rites to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Around 2.5 million Muslims used to attend Hajj annually in the pre-pandemic times.

Muslims, who can physically and financially afford Hajj, have to perform it at least once in a lifetime.