RIYADH: Saudi authorities are taking all possible precautions to ensure that Hajj is as safe for pilgrims as possible in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Ministry of Health spokesman Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Ali said on Wednesday.
“All the necessary actions and plans have been implemented to ensure the safety of pilgrims, including protocols that are in line with international best practices,” he said during the first daily round-up of developments during Hajj 2020, which was broadcast live on Al-Ekhbariya TV.
Pilgrims are monitored several times each day to check not only for signs of COVID-19 but other illnesses, he added. If a potential case is detected there are a number of options available to confirm a diagnosis, provide care for the patient and ensure that the health of other pilgrims is protected.
Al-Ali said that six hospitals are available to treat pilgrims, one of which is a mobile hospital. In addition there are 51 clinics, 62 field-supervision groups, 200 ambulances and 8,000 healthcare professionals.
Health and security were the main topics during the press conference, which also featured Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, security spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
Hajj began on Tuesday evening and continues until Sunday. Saudi authorities have restricted pilgrim numbers to only a few thousand people who already reside in the Kingdom, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.