Mecca robot
The machine, which has an early warning feature, has the capacity of 23.8 litres of sterilising substances, consuming two litres per hour. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Ten smart robots have been introduced to support sterilisation efforts inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi authorities have said.

The robots operate according to an automatic control system and at six levels, ensuring a safe healthy and environmental atmosphere and smart analysis of sterilisation requirements, according to the Grand Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

The battery-charged robots can operate for five to eight hours each without human intervention, said Hassan Al Souheiri, the head of the environmental prevention and epidemic combat department at the mosque.

The machine, which has an early warning feature, has the capacity of 23.8 litres of sterilising substances, consuming two litres per hour.

“The device is fitted with a high-fidelity radar camera to chart maps,” the official added.

The internationally certified robots are part of the automatic sterilisation system in effect at the Grand Mosque to protect Umrah pilgrims and worshippers from the novel coronavirus, he said.

In October, Saudi Arabia embarked on a plan for gradual resumption of the Umrah after suspension of around seven months amid strict precautions against COVID-19.

The first phase of the plan, which began on October 4, allowed 6,000 Umrah pilgrims from inside the kingdom per day into the mosque.

The second went into effect on October 18, allowing about 40,000 worshippers and 10,000 pilgrims a day into the site. As many as 20,000 Umrah pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day were allowed into the mosque according to the third phase that started in November.

In April, Saudi authorities announced that only “immunised” people against COVID-19 will be allowed to perform the Umrah at the Grand Mosque and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.