Jeddah: Over 79,000 pilgrims have reached Saudi Arabia to perform the first Hajj post-pandemic.
One million vaccinated people from all over the world will perform the annual pilgrimage which starts on Thursday. They include 79,185 pilgrims from India. Uttar Pradesh leads with a total of 8,701 pilgrims. Union Territory Chandigarh has sent only 25 pilgrims to Saudi for pilgrimage.
The salient feature of this year’s Haj for Indian pilgrims is that for the first time all Indian pilgrims will be provided a sofa cum bed facility in Mina and also train service in holy sites during the Haj. Unlike previous years of packed food, this year Indian pilgrims would be served freshly cooked meals.
Indian officials made elaborate health arrangements as this will be the first Haj gathering following the pandemic. Also, Hajj is taking place in one of the hottest months of the year in Saudi Arabia.
“We have established a separate isolation room in each building thus we made 188 isolation rooms to lodge any suspected pilgrims,” said Indian Consul General Md. Shahid Alam.
He informed that 175 health professionals from India arrived on deputation to serve pilgrims.
The Consul General said that the Indian Haj mission is operating two hospitals with a capacity of 70 beds in addition to 10 health centers including one in the vicinity of the Grand Mosque.
“The health condition of all pilgrims is being continuously monitored by Indian officials”, he said.
Apart from health professionals, 182 other employees who came from India on deputation are assisting pilgrims at various levels.
So far, 12 Indian pilgrims reportedly died owing to health issues, according to the Indian Haj Mission.