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Saudi Arabia will take as many Umrah pilgrims as the quota allocated before to the emergence of COVID-19

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah stated that it is ready to accept as many Umrah pilgrims as agreed upon with other Islamic nations prior to the emergence of the coronavirus epidemic. Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj and Umrah services, stated that all preparations for accepting pilgrims have been finished, and that the ministry has no problems receiving pilgrims from outside the kingdom in the recent days since the start of the current Umrah season.

According to Al-Maddah, the Ministry of Hajj is striving to pair its applications Shaaer and Eatmarna to contain all of the ministry's services so that Hajj and Umrah pilgrims may profit from them, as well as extending the breadth of these services in the two applications.

The Shaeer app was a great success in the last Hajj season as it contains all the information about the pilgrims’ ID, health and other services.

Shaeer Image

Shaaer smart card application is the official Hajj application launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to serve the pilgrims and facilitate the performance of their rites in a spiritual and safe atmosphere following health and regulatory controls and precautionary procedures to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Shaaer application was introduced during the last Hajj season. In the next phase the Shaaer smart card app will be issued for the Umrah pilgrims coming from abroad. The application serves as a digital identity for the pilgrim. It contains pilgrim’s personal, health, and housing information, providing him with many qualitative services and enabling him to record his health information and review the schedules, as well as gain knowledge of the Hajj program.

The application also allows the pilgrim to know the assembly points and departure times from his housing in the holy sites, enabling him to choose meals through the menus allotted and receive alerts from the control center. According to Al-Maddah, the goal of the ministry's technologies is to make procedures for pilgrims easier and to improve the quality of services, and what has been used this year is the first of several phases, which include expanding the base of services provided and making them permanent for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, particularly those from outside the country.

He said that the ministry is going through a major development phase in the provision of technological services, especially under the pandemic circumstances. The ministry seeks through this to make technology the basis for obtaining services and raising their quality in various paths, including shortening the waiting period and verifying identity, while providing electronic tickets. Referring to the post pandemic situation, Al-Maddah said: “What is noticed at this phase is that the programs affiliated with the Ministry of Hajj codify the numbers in line with the accommodative capacity, and these numbers increase in each phase in accordance with the data that takes place through the programs that work to organize the service and raise the capacity.

Relating to the protection of applications from intrusive penetration, Al-Maddah stated that the ministry's applications are regularly updated at the security level to avoid any penetration or disruption of its services, and that efforts are underway to combine all applications into a single application that includes all of the services that the pilgrim requires throughout his journey.

This is what happened in the application of rituals in the Hajj, and it is expected that the coming period will witness a link between the applications of Shaaer and Eatmarna, he added.

Al-Maddah said that the use of the Ministry’s applications for pilgrims abroad is available for those coming from the Gulf countries or those coming on visit and tourism visas according to the paths of arrival and the type of visa with the availability of health requirements and the necessary quarantine procedures. The application does not deal with those coming on Umrah visas issued through Umrah service companies.