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Saudi Press Agency

Health, Hajj Ministers: Saudi Arabia is Keen on Pilgrims' Safety

Saudi Press Agency

Tuesday 1441/11/2 - 2020/06/23

Riyadh, June 23, 2020, SPA -- The Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Mohammad bin Saleh Benten has emphasized that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the honor of serving millions of pilgrims every year by facilitating all procedures to enable all Muslims of different nationalities to perform Hajj. It also has provided them with the best health and security services.

He added that all of this emanates from the follow-up from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

This came during a virtual joint press conference held today with the Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.

The Minister of Hajj and Umrah pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has served more than 150 million pilgrims during the past ten years, and with the outbreak of COVID-19 in more than 180 countries worldwide, the Ministry of Health has made it clear that the risks of this pandemic are still continuing given the lack of a vaccine to date.

He added that in order to maintain global health security, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia decided to hold Hajj this year in 1441H with a limited number of pilgrims from all nationalities residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Minister clarified that to ensure the safety of pilgrims, extraordinary executive plans were made to organize Hajj 1441H, taking into account the medical requirements starting from the health isolation of pilgrims before and after they perform Hajj, providing a healthy environment, and the space required for a safe distance in pilgrims' residence and in the holy sites. The plans also included specific routes for pilgrims to the Grand Holy Mosque, to ensure adherence to health standards set by the Ministry of Health, in addition to applying the highest international standards for nutrition.

The Minister concluded by saying that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is honored to serve millions of pilgrims annually and this decision stems from the top priority that Saudi Arabia accords to maintain the safety of pilgrims on its land until they depart to their countries. We ask Allah the Almighty to protect all countries from this pandemic and keep all humans protected and safe.

For his part, Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah indicated that COVID-19 is still recording high numbers in many countries, as the total number of infected people reached nearly 8 million in more than 188 countries.

He pointed out that despite the accelerated international efforts to find a vaccine or treatment, and studies that have reached advanced stages needing several months until the production and distribution of this vaccine, COVID-19 is still classified as a global pandemic therefore many countries have tightened health precautions, and based on the keenness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the safety of Muslims around the world this decision was taken.

He indicated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has developed a health plan and strict procedures to follow up on pilgrims this year, beginning before they reach the holy sites, where they will be tested to ensure that they are not infected with the virus, including all those who are serving pilgrims as health professionals, security personnel and workers in the holy sites. Pilgrims also must be less than 65 years old and do not have chronic diseases and they will home quarantined after the end of Hajj.

The Minister of Health pointed to the provision of medical teams accompanying pilgrims throughout the rituals, ambulances, the allocation of a hospital in case of any emergency, and a health center in Arafat.

He reiterated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which puts human health first will continue its efforts to maintain global health security.

15:19 LOCAL TIME 12:19 GMT

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