Coronavirus: Mecca authorities set guidelines for upcoming limited capacity Hajj

Muslim pilgrims pray on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat in the early morning during the peak of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca. (Reuters)

Authorities in Mecca have set several health and safety guidelines in preparation for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage being held in a limited capacity this year given the coronavirus pandemic, according to Al Arabiya sources.

The guidelines laid out include the implementation of a medical quarantine for all incoming pilgrims ahead of their entry into Mecca’s holy sites.

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Authorities will also be preparing a gathering center for pilgrims in Mecca with an area of 6000 square meters.

All pilgrims will be following social distancing measures of keeping two meters between each other throughout their pilgrimage in Mecca.

Pilgrims will also be divided into separate groups not exceeding 20 individuals per group. All groups will be accompanied by a guide throughout their pilgrimage.

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Authorities will also be using 40 busses capable of holding 49 passengers but will be limiting capacity to 22 pilgrims at any given journey. Groups using a specific bus will be using the same one throughout the different stages of the upcoming Hajj. Pilgrims will be assigned specific seats on their bus throughout their time in Mecca.

In the tent city of Mina, pilgrims will be allocated their own space consisting of no less than nine meters. The same individual space policy will be enforced in Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah.

A picture taken June 23, 2020 shows pilgrims housing tents located between the holy sites of Arafat and Mina in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. (AFP)

A picture taken June 23, 2020 shows pilgrims housing tents located between the holy sites of Arafat and Mina in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. (AFP)

Read more:

Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia to fine those who enter Mecca without a permit during Hajj

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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia holds ‘limited’ Hajj pilgrimage for various nationalities

During the sacred “stoning of the devil” rite, of the essential rites during the Hajj pilgrimage, pilgrims will be provided their own bags of stones that have been packaged and sanitized.

In terms of food, pilgrims will be given individuals pre-prepared meals wrapped by a certified contractor with only single-use plastic cutlery.

Authorities are also working on issuing “smart cards” for every pilgrim which will allow them to manage and organize their movements during their pilgrimage.

Pilgrims will also be issued with a bag containing sanitizers, facemasks, a prayer rug, in addition to distributing Zamzam water containers to pilgrims.

Last Update: Tuesday, 14 July 2020 KSA 07:54 - GMT 04:54