Pilgrims started arriving in Makkah this weekend as they prepare for a very special hajj this year.
The first group to arrive was flown in from Qassim province to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport on Friday before being transferred to a hotel in Makkah.
They were followed by more arrivals from Madinah, Riyadh, Abha, Tabuk and Jizan on Saturday.
In order to protect pilgrims, Saudi officials applied new measures including special spacing, temperature measurement, and using technical thermal cameras.
Khadija, a Bulgarian expatriate, was overcome with joy when she heard she would be performing hajj this year, Arab News reported.
“I didn’t expect they’d accept,” she said. “I’m sure this year’s Hajj will be an exceptional one in all respects.”
Abdullah Al-Kathiri, an Emirati and a recovered COVID-19 patient, postponed his hajj last year because it coincided with his marriage.
“I’ve heard from many who’ve performed the pilgrimage in past years that it was always a smooth process, even with the massive numbers,” he said.
“So you could imagine how it would be with the limited number of pilgrims this year. Surely it will be a great experience.”
Dr. Haifa Yousef Hamdoon, a Tunisian physician in Qassim, did not expect to have a chance in this year’s limited hajj.
“When I received confirmation of my request, I was overjoyed and couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Hajj 2020 will commence on Tuesday, 28th of July 2020 and will continue till Sunday, 2nd of August 2020; in the evening time.