24,000 Pilgrims Perform Umrah After Grand Mosque Reopening


AT least 24,000 pilgrims have performed Umrah since the Grand Mosque in Makkah reopened its doors to worshippers on Saturday, with no reported cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), figures have revealed.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques on Wednesday said that strict health and safety measures had been introduced to protect pilgrims and help stop the spread of the virus.

“Our precautionary measures plan for Umrah with COVID-19 is based on protection, sanitisation, crowd management, and raising awareness.

Presidency spokesperson, Hani Haider, said: “We have prepared four isolation sites for pilgrims with suspicious symptoms. However, no suspected COVID-19 case has yet been reported.”

In order to ensure social distancing, the presidency has designated special pathways for the elderly and disabled people to help them perform Umrah rituals safely.

Haider pointed out that efforts were being concentrated on the sanitisation of the Grand Mosque and its arenas, with 4,000 workers doing an average of 10 cleans a day. More than 1,800 liters of eco-friendly disinfectants and sanitisers were also being used to clean toilets six times each day.

Air-conditioning systems and filters were receiving nine daily cleans using ultraviolet sanitising technology, and more than 200 hand-sanitising devices had been distributed around the Grand Mosque

A ban on food and drinks at the Grand Mosque remained in place but the presidency was looking to employ the latest technology to redistribute Zamzam water containers again while maintaining precautionary measures and preventing contact between pilgrims, added Haider.

Meanwhile, the presidency has been distributing tens of thousands of Zamzam bottles among pilgrims on a daily basis and its dedicated 1,966 hotline was available around the clock to answer calls from worshippers.

The Saudi Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday 468 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the Kingdom to 337,711. There were currently 9,556 active cases, 913 of which were receiving medical care.

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