Saudi authorities have issued special health protocols for this year’s Hajj, including that pilgrims must not touch or kiss the Holy Ka’aba and the Black Stone and that they must use sterilised pebbles for the stoning ritual.
The Saudi National Center for Disease Prevention and Control stipulated that barriers will be erected to prevent pilgrims touching the Ka’aba or the Black Stone.
And there must be at least 1.5 meters distance between two performers of tawaf (circumambulation around the Holy Kaaba).
The Mataf (area for circumambulation) and Masa (area for performing the ritual of sa’i between Safa and Marwa) will be sterilised before and after the performance of the rituals of tawaf and sa’i by each batch of pilgrims, it was stated in the protocol.
The draconian measures have been introduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with only limited amounts of people already residing in the kingdom allowed to perform Hajj this year.
Entry to Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat without a Hajj permit will be prohibited from July 19 until the end of Dhul Hijjah 12, the fifth day of the Hajj pilgrimage.
If any pilgrims are found with symptoms of coronavirus in the midst of Hajj, they will be allowed to complete the rituals only after the assessment by a doctor.
Any person who has flu symptoms such as high temperature, cough, runny nose, sore throat or sudden loss of sense of smell and taste, will not be allowed to engage in Hajj duties until after the symptoms disappear and producing a doctor’s report showing recovery.
It will also be mandatory for pilgrims and those organising the Hajj to wear masks at all times and dispose of them in the proper manner and in the designated places.
Drinking water and Zamzam water will be allowed in single-use containers, but all refrigerators in the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the holy sites will be removed.
As for the stoning of Jamarat, pilgrims will be provided with pebbles that are pre-sterilised and placed in wrapped bags.
The number of pilgrims who throw stones in groups will not exceed 50 pilgrims for each floor of the Jamarat complex and they must maintain a distance of 1.5 to two meters between pilgrims while performing the ritual of stoning.
Security personnel will strictly monitor the compliance of social distancing and other health protocols.