Saudi Arabia: The pertinent authorities have approved a number of recommendations for the Hajj season 1442H, most prominent of which is enhancing benefitting from the health protocols and precautionary measures that were implemented during the Hajj 1441H, Okaz has learnt.
The authorities are studying the possibility of implementing these protocols and measures in proportion to the number of pilgrims, the areas of tents, facilities, and utilities in the holy sites, and referring the decisions reached by the Supreme Hajj Committee to the authorities and agencies concerned.
The protocols referred to conditions to be fulfilled prior to arriving at the Hajj zones, which include the permitted age group, good health condition, and candidates being free from chronic diseases. It should be ensured that they did not undergo renal dialysis or suffer from chronic diseases requiring hospitalization during the past 6 months, and they should have obtained a performance permit.
Before heading to the Hajj areas, the pilgrim is required to take the anti-COVID-19 vaccine. As to those coming from abroad, it is required that the pilgrims should have received the full doses of vaccines approved in Saudi Arabia. They should present a certificate attested by the official health authorities in the pilgrim’s country and a negative-result PCR test certificate provided it is issued by a recognized laboratory in the pilgrim’s country.
As regards domestic pilgrims, the conditions for nomination for performing Hajj include obtaining at least one dose of an approved vaccine, provided 6-8 weeks have passed since taking the last dose. In addition, it is necessary to receive the second dose as soon as the pilgrim gets an initial acceptance for the Hajj, within a period of at least 2 weeks before heading to the Hajj areas.
A swab test using the PCR technique is required to ensure the pilgrim is free from COVID-19. This test should have been taken within 40 hours before heading to the procedures areas upon arrival at the Hajj zones.
The controls set by the authorities have specified the procedures to be followed at the entry points inside and outside the country. They include verification of all health documents, checking of vaccination certificates, and the pilgrim undergoing visual screening procedures. The pilgrims will be dispatched within lanes designated for the transport area.
The set procedures also include allocation of accommodation quarters conforming to the requirements, including preventing overcrowding in rooms. Catering services will be provided to every pilgrim in his room, so as to prevent any gathering in dining halls, open buffets will not be permitted, and foreign pilgrims will be quarantined for three days.
In the Holy Sites, the Two Holy Mosques, and the Central Areas in Makkah and Madinah, the pilgrims will be grouped into batches, and tents and sorting points will be set up on the pedestrian routes, the Jamarat Area, and at train stations, bags will be sterilized, and security guards will organize the exit of pilgrims, according to the specified time.
In the Arafat transportation plan, a bus is specified for each group, with a seat number assigned to each pilgrim. Pilgrims will not be allowed to stand during the trip, and at least one seat should remain empty between one passenger and the other, provided the passengers carry their luggage.
All should commit themselves to residing at their designated sites in Arafat and Muzdalifah.