Makkah Route initiative success opens way for Hajj pilgrims

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Bangladeshi pilgrims arriving at King Abdulaziz International Airport under Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Bangladeshi pilgrims arriving at King Abdulaziz International Airport under Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Bangladeshi pilgrims arriving at King Abdulaziz International Airport under Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Bangladeshi pilgrims arriving at King Abdulaziz International Airport under Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
Updated 08 July 2019

Makkah Route initiative success opens way for Hajj pilgrims

  • The Makkah Route initiative is expected to serve more than 225,000 pilgrims passing through airports in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tunisia
  • The service includes issuing visas, ensuring compliance with health requirements and codifying and sorting luggage at airports in the pilgrims’ own countries

JEDDAH: The director general of the information department at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim bin Abdulwahab Al-Gharib, said that the ministry grants beneficiaries of the Makkah Route initiative e-Hajj visas after inserting pilgrims’ data in the electronic track of Hajj visas. 

He explained in a press statement on Sunday that the ministry is participating with other concerned government agencies in the implementation of the Makkah Route initiative, following the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide the best service for pilgrims.

Al-Gharib said that the Makkah Route initiative was implemented for the Hajj season on Thursday at the airports of Islamabad in Pakistan and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and began with the first flight on Sunday in Indonesia, to be followed by Bangladesh.

He said the initiative aims to provide the best services for pilgrims through the completion of their entry into the Kingdom from the airports of their countries. 

 

Indonesian pilgrims

The initiative was inaugurated on Sunday at Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Indonesia, in the presence of Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Dr. Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Essam Abed Al-Thaqafi.

Following the inauguration, the 410 Indonesian pilgrims on the first flight completed their entry into the Kingdom via dedicated lanes at the airport in record time.

The Saudi ambassador to Indonesia said that the implementation of the Makkah Route initiative in Indonesia for the second year confirms the success of cooperation between the two countries’ authorities in serving Indonesian pilgrims to the Kingdom.


Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

Updated 18 min 17 sec ago

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

  • The Kingdom has gained experience in dealing with millions of peoples, says crowd expert

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has announced its readiness to deal with any epidemic cases. It said that it will provide all necessary information to pilgrims and has doubled cleaning times of the courtyards and corridors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The presidency said that it is raising media awareness in all languages and through informative screens to distribute the latest medical instructions and emergency developments.

Abdulhamid Al-Maliki, assistant undersecretary for services affairs at the presidency, told Arab News that the Two Holy Mosques are collaborating with public health authorities to face all possible situations.

Al-Maliki said that he has been working hand-in-hand with governmental and private agencies to distribute masks and hand sanitizer.

He added that coordination has been made with public health-related bodies to mobilize the necessary media coverage to inform all pilgrims of different nationalities wherever they may be.

The assistant undersecretary said that responding to all instructions and advice is necessary for the best handling of health issues.

Crowd expert Akram Jan said that Saudi Arabia has gained experience in dealing with crowds and millions of people, and that it was prepared to handle several sudden scenarios as well as the most difficult situations with success.

Jan said that the difficulties that accompany the presence of viruses — such as the new coronavirus — are their ability to spread and infect through contact or sneezing. He added that the Kingdom is taking precautionary measures to prevent a disaster from happening.

 

Disinfection

The floors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque are washed and disinfected four times daily as part of measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and visitors.

Highly qualified cadres use the best technology and cleaning and sanitizing tools, said Jaber Widaani, director of the mosque’s department of disinfection and carpets. 

There are 13,500 prayer rugs at the mosque, all of which are swept and fragranced on a daily basis, he added.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December 2019 in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. The illness it causes was named COVID-19, a reference to its origin late last year.

Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Dubai’s Emirates announced a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.