Saudi uses latest tech to control Covid during Haj


The Haj smart card records its holder’s personal, medical and residential information….reports Asian Lite News

 The Saudi government is employing the latest information technologies to help control the spread of Covid-19 during this year’s Haj season.

The Ministry of Haj and Umrah said on Sunday that it launched the “Haj smart cards” to facilitate the journey of pilgrims, reports Xinhua news agency.

The cards, equipped with near field communication (NFC) technologies, can be scanned by self-service machines at the holy sites to feed fast and accurate information to the organisers.

The Haj smart card records its holder’s personal, medical and residential information.

It can also help the pilgrims to find locations and gain access to various venues.

Moreover, the kingdom also distributed about 5,000 smart bracelets for pilgrims, which are not only capable of storing the pilgrims’ personal information, but also monitoring their health conditions such as blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and possible exposure to the infectious virus.

It is the second year in a row, in which Saudi Arabia is organising the annual pilgrimage without foreign worshippers as part of precautionary measures against the ongoing pandemic.

About 60,000 Muslims, selected by the authorities from 558,000 registered ones, will take part in the 2021 Haj season, while the number was 2.5 million in 2019.

More than 13 million worshippers wearing masks and observing physical distancing rules have visited the mosques since the seven-month prayer and Umrah suspension was lifted last October.

Last week, Saudi Arabia had launched an awareness campaign for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

It focused on educating the pilgrims about the precautionary instructions that must be adhered to before entering Makkah to ensure a healthy environment for performing the rituals of Hajj during this unprecedented situation.

The ministry’s deployment of electronic systems for various Hajj procedures, including a Hajj smart card “Shayir” helps control the entry of pilgrims to camps in the holy sites and various facilities and grouping them to the Jamarat facility, Deputy Minister of Hajj, Dr. Abdulfattah bin Suleiman Mashat said.

The campaign has educated the pilgrims about the benefits of the unified card for all pilgrims, which contains their personal, medical and residential information. This information contributes to better coordination of the Hajj procedures, starting with issuing the Hajj permit and managing the entry of pilgrims to Makkah and the holy sites, and performance of Hajj rituals

It also helps guiding and organising the pilgrims in the camps of the holy sites, the mount of Arafat, the stoning of the Jamarat, the Ifadah Tawaf, along with other rituals.

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