Did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts in combatting the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring a safe Hajj pilgrimage for its residents this year? The heightened precautionary measures, limited number or pilgrims and social distancing norms helped make sure that Hajj pilgrims were able to perform all rituals in the safest way possible. The result – None of the 10,000 pilgrims tested positive for COVID-19!
As Saudi authorities start preparations for the next Umrah season, we have drafted a short guide for pilgrims hoping to visit the Holy city of Mecca and Medina in the future.
How to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
By now, it is widely understood that the number of COVID-19 positive cases can be controlled by following the right set of precautions. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health recommends the following precautionary measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading:
Avoid crowded indoor places and large gatherings
Wash your hands frequently, with soap and water
Avoid touching your face - Infection can spread easily from your hands to your nose or mouth
Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, using a tissue or bent elbow
When using disposable surgical masks, make sure they are replaced and discarded frequently
Avoid unsafe handling of animals
Maintain a distance of at least 1 to 2 meter(s) from suspected/confirmed COVID-19 patients
What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19?
If you, your family members or fellow pilgrims are experiencing typical COVID-19 symptoms (respiratory symptoms such as cough and difficulty breathing, or fever and tiredness), you must follow the below-listed steps:
- Make sure you wear a surgical mask to contain the spread of the potentially dangerous Coronavirus
- Call 937 promptly – This is the Saudi Ministry of Health’s toll-free call center for health services
- Go to the nearest hospital for testing and treatment
Awareness about COVID-19 is important – Here’s what you need to know…
Awareness about the COVID-19 infection, its symptoms, how it spreads and how it can be prevented – Is the first step towards ensuring your safety while you are on the pilgrimage.
While the virus made its first entry into various countries including Saudi Arabia through travelers who had either been to China or come into contact with infected individuals, it is now spreading internally across the domestic population as well.
The Saudi authorities have employed various measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 such as inbound travel restrictions, implementation of social distancing norms, and equipping healthcare facilities with the equipment needed to safely combat the disease. However, each resident or pilgrim must also take personal precautions to minimize the spread of the virus.
It is known that COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can contract the virus not only through being in direct contact with an infected individual, but also when you come in contact with a contaminated surface. From observing a high level of personal hygiene and avoiding crowds, to seeking medical help when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, timely and prompt action can go a long way in the fight against this pandemic.