During the Coronavirus outbreak, pilgrimage to Makkah was strictly restricted. However with support structures like vaccinations and safe distancing in place, pilgrims can safely perform the Umrah and Hajj. Further the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has devised a complete tech solutions for safe Hajj. Moreover authorities are revisiting and updating the strategies continuously due to the risks posed by new strains of the Coronavirus.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and information technology (IT) to safeguard the pilgrims going on Hajj during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Saudi ministry will use robots, interactive screens, and quality tech solutions for this purpose. It will aid in limiting contact between individuals during the rituals.
Right from the very start, people can use online portals for receiving and accepting Hajj applications. Digitalization will help pilgrims register themselves without any hassle. It will also reduce the contact points of pilgrims before visiting the city of Makkah for pilgrimage. The Islamic electronic library will also install 30 interactive screens for offering needful assistance.
People going on Hajj in 2021 will receive smart cards. They will record personal and health-related information on pilgrims and grant access to hotels, camps, and transport services. The smart cards will also facilitate payment allowing the ministry to keep an eye on the crowded locations in Makkah.
Morocco World News reported that this year the ministry would allow 60,000 pilgrims to go on Hajj. As part of the stringent measures, the location of each pilgrim will be closely monitored with the help of AI robots. They will aid in regularly sterilizing and disinfecting the buildings and surrounding areas of holiest Muslim sites. Deployment of robots with interactive abilities to offer help and guidance to pilgrims will also take place. They will also respond to people’s queries regarding the rituals.
As part of the precautionary measures, the ministry of Saudi Arabia has decided to give pilgrims free access to Wi-Fi. They have also set up a tech-reinforced security gate at Makkah’s Shimisi entrance. It will vet and inspect pilgrims from over 16 different tracks. The entrance gate will significantly reduce the waiting time for visitors even during busy hours. As such, the pilgrims will be able to complete their journey in a seamless and smooth manner.
The AI robots deployed at the well will hand out the holy Zamzam water to avoid physical contact between individuals. The authorities have also decided to put on 62 screens in Makkah to make people aware of the dos and don’ts during the pilgrimage. Broadcasting of messages in different languages on these displays to promote easy understanding will take place.
Besides, a host of applications and programs are set up by the relevant authorities to ensure a safe and hassle-free Hajj and Umrah trip to Makkah. Asharq Al-Awsat has reported that the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al Al-Sheikh inaugurated operational and maintenance projects with the total cost amounting to more than SAR 31 million. These projects intend to establish coordination between several agencies to provide the highest standards of service.
The pilgrimage of Hajj is an important Islamic tradition that every abled Muslim has to make at least once in his/her lifetime. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this tradition was brought to a halt. However, with the Covid-19 cases going down, Saudi Arabia has decided to allow some vaccinated pilgrims to undergo the journey. The well-intended AI and tech solutions for safe Hajj are an effort on the part of Saudi Arabia to safeguard the people arriving for the pilgrimage.