JEDDAH: Pilgrims who wish to perform the Muslim Umrah ritual are now required to reserve an appointment via the Nusuk or Tawakkalna apps, the Saudi interior ministry announced on Tuesday.
“The Umrah security plan for (this) year included managing and organizing crowds and traffic, providing humanitarian services, supporting and empowering the entities participating in implementing the plan, and distributing manpower,” said Director of Public Security Lt. Gen. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Bassami.
He said that there were a “sufficient” number of bookings available, and called on pilgrims to adhere to their specific dates, all of which were being organized in coordination with the Ministry of Hajj and the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.
He was speaking to reporters during a press conference for the leaders of the Umrah security forces on the ministry’s plans and preparations for this year’s Umrah season at the 911 Unified Operations Center in Makkah, the state-run SPA news agency reported.
“The expected densities in public transport stations at the entrances to Makkah and the vicinity of the Third Ring Road and next to the Holy Mosque of Makkah were taken into account, and the paths were reorganized to ensure crowd movement safety,” Al-Bassami said.
He stressed the importance of wearing face masks to preserve public health and in compliance with instructions for preventive measures and health regulations.
Al-Bassami said that large crowds would be directed accordingly and beggars who entered these sites would be dealt with firmly and strictly.
Director-General of Civil Defense Maj. Gen. Hammoud bin Suleiman Al-Faraj said: “The General Directorate of Civil Defense has completed its preparations in all sites frequented by pilgrims and visitors to ensure readiness, fire prevention and protection, especially in areas that witness high density.”
He said that the Civil Defense had coordinated with authorities to take legal measures by applying regulations and controlling violations.
Al-Faraj said that the directorate was ready for intensive deployment around the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and important sites through safety inspectors and support forces.
He praised the fire and rescue services in Makkah, Madinah, the holy site centers, and the deployment of mobile units at specific times.
Al-Faraj also praised the creation of a number of rapid intervention teams, especially in the central area in Makkah, around the Prophet’s Mosque and other vital sites.
Maj. Gen. Saleh bin Saad Al-Murabba, deputy director-general of the General Directorate of Passports, said that his authority had worked on early social and technical preparations and equipment for the Umrah season, developed plans and executive programs, raised media awareness, enhanced communication, and supported and assisted operating agencies for pilgrims.
He said that the directorate had completed its operational preparations by equipping ports with manpower and modern technologies to easily complete the procedures for pilgrims at all international ports, through qualified staff that spoke a number of languages to guide visitors to adhere to Umrah instructions.