MAKKAH: Annual Hajj rituals begin in Makkah today (Sunday) with the arrival of pilgrims in Mina.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no foreign pilgrims have been allowed to perform the Hajj once again this year. Saudi Arabia has restricted the number of pilgrims to a maximum of 60,000 vaccinated citizens and residents between the ages of 18 and 65.
Last year, only up to 10,000 Saudi citizens and residents were permitted to perform the annual pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched Hajj smart card to enhance the digital services and facilitate the journey of pilgrims while performing the rituals of Hajj.
The Hajj smart Card “Shaaer” includes near field communication technology (NFC), which allows pilgrims to scan their cards through self-service devices that will be available at the holy sites.
Read more: Saudi Arabia unveils Hajj operational plan
The Hajj smart card offers many services including the pilgrim’s personal, medical and residential information. It will also contribute to guiding pilgrims to their residence at holy sites and controlling entry to the various facilities.
Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj and Umrah Services Dr. Amr Al-Maddah had said that Saudi Arabia has always exerted all efforts to serve pilgrims during Hajj seasons; therefore, the Hajj smart Card has been launched to complete the Hajj’s technical system, which comes as part of continuous planning and improvements to provide the best services during Hajj season.