Saudi Arabia boosts Haj ‘smart ID’

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has expanded a “smart ID” service for this year’s Haj pilgrims with the aim of exposing illegal pilgrims and facilitating the holy journey for the approved pilgrims.

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“This step is part of the strategic plans of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah for digital transition,” the ministry’s supervisor-general for planning and development Omar Al Madah said.

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See also

  • Eid Al Adha 2020: First time scenes from Haj show pilgrims with masks and social distancing at Mount Arafat

  • Photos: Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al Adha

  • Eid Al Adha 2020: Muslims around the world celebrate with family and feasts

  • In Pictures: Scaled back Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia

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The “smart ID” service was launched last year when it was implemented on a small scale.

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It contains pilgrims’ personal, medical and residency data, including the number of the group of which the pilgrim is a member and the number of the bus carrying him/her during movements in the holy places and the number of his room.

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“This ID allows those serving the pilgrim to know his Haj programme, assembling points and the departure dates,” Al Madah said, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.

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“The smart ID also helps direct pilgrims to their housing in the holy places and their access to different facilities. Moreover, it helps limit irregular pilgrims,” he added.

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Such an identification card, the official elaborated, has a barcode by virtue of which the Haj workers can read to get information about the holder.

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Saudi Arabia is holding a scaled-down Haj this year, confining it to nationalities who are already residing in the kingdom with the aim of containing the spread of the new coronavirus.

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