JEDDAH — With only six days left for the start of the annual hajj, Saudi officials at the Ministry of Health are making the rounds to ensure that all procedures designed to facilitate the arrival of two million pilgrims are in place.
“The Ministry of Health’s focus is on preventive measures. It follows global health issues through World Health Organization (WHO) and international health agencies in order to prepare most efficiently and effectively to minimize health risks,” the press release of the Center for International Communication (CIC) in Saudi Arabia stated, Saudi Gazette reported on August 13.
So far, a total of 1,302,192 pilgrims have arrived in Saudi, registering a nearly 6 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to the Saudi Directorate General for Passports.
“Most importantly, no epidemic or quarantine diseases have been reported so far. However, the Ministry of Health is prepared to meet contingencies,” Hamad Al-Dowaila, Vice Minister of Health, said confidently.
In Madinah, 11 hospitals have been set up to provide services specifically to pilgrims, while others were prepared for emergencies. All hospitals are supported by 13 primary seasonal healthcare centers.
The Jeddah Health Affairs has assigned 115 doctors, technicians, and administrators to work in the Health Control Centre at Jeddah Islamic Port through which many pilgrims will arrive.
In addition to verifying health certificates of pilgrims arriving via the port, medicine, and required vaccines are also available till the end of Hajj on August 24.
Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.