Saudi Arabia uses information tech to control pandemic in Hajj season

RIYADH   –  The Saudi government is employing the latest information technologies to help control the spread of COVID-19 during the Hajj season. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it launched the “Hajj smart cards” to facilitate the journey of pilgrims. 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 organizers.    The Hajj 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 organizes the Hajj without foreign pilgrims as part of precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Around 60,000 people take part in the 2021 Hajj season, while the number was around 2.5 million from all over the world in 2019.

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