MAKKAH: Preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage have begun in the Holy city of Makkah as the Kiswah is being raised three meters above from and the unveiled part of the Masjid Al-Haram would be covered with a two-meter cloth of Ehram.
Preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage have begun after a limited number of pilgrims are allowed to attend the yearly ritual amid COVID-19 pandemic.
July 22 will be the first day of Zil Hajj in Saudi Arabia that marks the start of this year’s Hajj season.
The annual ceremony to change the Ghilaf-e-Kaaba (Kiswah) would be held on the 9th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah at the Grand Mosque of Makkah (Masjid-Al-Haram).
On June 24, Saudi Arabian authorities announced that the number of Hajj pilgrims could be limited to less or more than 1,000 for protecting the public health in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saudi Health Minister Dr Tawfiq Al-Rabiah held a press conference to elaborate the plan for a very limited number of Hajj pilgrims this year.
He said Saudi Arabia is capable of ensuring pilgrims’ safety and limiting the number of pilgrims this year is important. “The health ministry has accumulated experience in the service of pilgrims, and thus has enough human and technical capacities to serve pilgrims and preserve their health,” he said.
Dr Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said that compulsory isolation before and after the pilgrimage will also be enforced. An integrated hospital at holy sites will be provided, along with a health center in Arafat in case of emergencies during Hajj, he added.
Medical cadres will also accompany pilgrims throughout their journey. Media coverage of this year’s Hajj will be in line with adopted health measures, according to Saudi Media.