MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has completed all preparations to receive Umrah pilgrims after increasing the capacity to 70,000 per day.
These preparations were completed under the supervision of Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais, the head of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.
The first group of fully-vaccinated foreign Umrah pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia on Aug. 15 after a temporary COVID-19 travel ban was lifted.
Hani bin Hosni Haidar, the official spokesman for the general presidency, said all Umrah pilgrims and worshippers will have to abide by precautionary measures and intensified sterilization.
Additional services the presidency has provided in conjunction with the existing precautionary measures include the development of thermal cameras and visual sorting operations.
The sterilization process will utilize 11 robots that work with AI, 20 bio-care devices with dry steam, and 500 sterilization pumps. The presidency will also provide 500 electronic soap dispensers and 250 fans distributed throughout the Grand Mosque’s courtyards.
Haidar said the presidency also increased the production capacity of Zamzam water to more than 300,000 bottles per day, which will be distributed to Umrah pilgrims and worshippers.
He said Qur’anic sessions and religious lessons delivered by Grand Mosque scholars will resume in accordance with all precautionary and preemptive measures.
Haidar also said the presidency will provide translation services to pilgrims and visitors in English, Turkish, Urdu, Persian, French, Russian, Malay, Bengali, Chinese, and Hausa.
Afghans have Kingdom’s support
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Wednesday said the Kingdom supported the people of Afghanistan during a “crucial stage” in their history, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom also supports the choices that the Afghan people make regarding the future of their country, away from external interference.
The foreign minister said Saudi Arabia hopes the Taliban and all Afghan parties will work to maintain peace and security and protect the lives and property of civilians.
The Kingdom also hopes that the formation of a caretaker government will be a step in the right direction toward achieving security and stability, the rejection of violence and extremism, and building a bright future, he said.
He added that the Kingdom places high importance on supporting ways through which Afghanistan can overcome its current challenges.
Prince Faisal made the comments at a virtual meeting of officials from 22 countries as well as NATO, the European Union and the UN the day after the Taliban announced their interim government.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his German counterpart Heiko Maas hosted the meeting.
On Tuesday, the Taliban announced an interim government after seizing control of the country last month.