Hajj amid COVID-19: Saudi Arabia implements smart cards for virus-free pilgrimage

saudi arabia cards virus pilgrimage hajj
Saudi Arabia

Hajj amid COVID-19: Saudi Arabia implements smart cards for virus-free pilgrimage

During this year's Hajj, Saudi Arabian authorities rolled out electronic 'Hajj cards' that allowed pilgrims contactless access to religious sites, accommodation, and transportation. For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page. The Hajj cards aimed to "to ensure the safety and health of pilgrims, and the safety of personnel working in the service of pilgrims," King Salman bin Abdulaziz said during his speech on the first day of Eid al-Adha. The annual pilgrimage – seen as a rite for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to take part in it – usually welcomes millions of Muslims from around the world. Crowding, which has resulted in deaths before, had always been a concern for the authorities in the past. For the past two years, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom limited the number of attendees allowed to perform Hajj to only 60,000 citizens and residents in order to prevent the virus from spreading. The Hajj cards will allow "all transactions to be contactless," and is expected to be developed into a virtual wallet as well for future pilgrimages, the Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Amro al-Maddah, said. The pilgrims were each given a smart card in either…