ISLAMABAD - Makkah was preparing to welcome Hajj pilgrims who passed the health standard set by concerned authorities.

"The health protocol approved for Hajj, pilgrims who met the health requirements and conditions for this year’s Hajj have begun the seven-day home isolation procedures," the Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said .

Saudi Arabia had announced on June 22 that it would allow a “limited” number of people to perform the holy pilgrimage this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that those individuals would be of different nationalities but already residing in the Kingdom,daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

People who were residents in Saudi Arabia make up to 70% of total Hajj pilgrims while Saudi citizens make up 30% most of whom were from the medical and military sectors.

Major General Mohammed bin Wasl Al-Ahmadi, Assistant Commander of the Hajj Security Forces for the Grand Mosque and its premises Security, said" Hajj Security plan for this exceptional year is based on four pillars: the organization, security, humanitarian and health."

He said the Hajj Security Force has put a mechanism fixing ways of entrance and exit from and to the Grand mosque during the Hajj, with passage for pilgrims extending from the southern and western premises of the mosque as well as special passages around the circumambulation and Saey areas.

For this exceptional Hajj, pilgrims from different nationalities would head to Makkah after finishing their isolation period. They will be spending a number of days in one of Makkah’s hotels which was inspected by Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Muhammad Saleh Benten.

While staying at the hotel, pilgrims would receive healthcare inspections to detect any COVID-19 symptoms. After that, they would head to Arafat accompanied by a medical team. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set up tents to accommodate pilgrims at Arafat and set plans and mechanisms to transport them under social distancing measures.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, Benten said that the government has worked out unprecedented plans for the operation of this year’s Hajj, enabling pilgrims to perform their rituals in ease and comfort.

“The comprehensive foolproof plans would be implemented by the security, health and service agencies. The plans include the provision of the best health services, and the most appropriate crowd control, strictly in line with the precautionary measures and preventive protocols, formulated by the Ministry of Health to ensure full safety of pilgrims from the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

Benten emphasized the keenness of the government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to implement the Hajj operation by following the highest health standards and precautionary measures in order to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.