RIYADH: The support of Islamic nations for Saudi Arabia’s efforts against COVID-19 during Hajj contributed to protecting pilgrims and prevented the spread of the pandemic, Saudi King Salman said on Tuesday.
In a televised address to mark Eid Al-Adha, the king said measures had been taken during the pilgrimage to reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading “in view of what the world is going through,” and the Saudi vaccination campaign had allowed authorities to provide a safe environment for pilgrims.
For the second year running, Saudi Arabia limited pilgrims to those living in the Kingdom. Just 60,000 people were allowed to take part provided they had been vaccinated.
“I thank Allah Almighty for the great success of the Kingdom’s efforts in reducing the effects imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of life and works to increase society immunity by providing more than 22 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to citizens and residents,” he said.
The king congratulated Muslims on Eid Al-Adha and prayed for the safe return of pilgrims to their families.
He said this had helped increase the capacity of the Two Holy Mosques and enabled pilgrims to perform rituals in a “healthy and safe environment.”
In the last major ritual of this year’s Hajj, pilgrims cast sanitized pebbles on Tuesday as they took part in the symbolic “stoning of the devil” at Jamarat. From dawn, small groups of pilgrims made their way across the Mina valley near Makkah to take part in the ritual.
They will return to Jamarat over the next two days before continuing on to Makkah to pray at the Grand Mosque and circle the Kaaba at the end of Hajj.
Mona Hamad, a Saudi pilgrim on her first Hajj, told Arab News: “You cannot imagine how thrilled I am to live this experience.
“I have mixed feelings — proud of my country, enjoying Hajj and celebrating Eid. What else could bring more happiness than that? I am truly feeling elated.”