Hajj season nears end with no COVID-19 at holy sites

Pilgrims pray at Jamarat after throwing stones at the symbolic Satan. (SPA)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Hajj season nears end with no COVID-19 at holy sites

  • Grand Mosque cleaned 10 times a day during the pandemic crisis

MAKKAH: Pilgrims returned to the Jamarat Bridge for the stoning ritual on Saturday, the fourth day of Hajj, as the season neared an end with no cases of COVID-19 at the holy sites.

The Saudi Health Ministry said the pilgrims’ health status was reassuring, and there had been no public health issues this season.

The Grand Mosque was sterilized and disinfected after pilgrims completed their Tawaf Al-Ifada ritual on the third day of Hajj. 

The mosque has been cleaned 10 times a day during the pandemic crisis.

Dr. Amani Al-Saadi, a health mentor taking part in Hajj this year, said the pilgrims’ health status was monitored from when they left their accommodation until they returned at the end of the day.

Each pilgrim had a designated seat on the Hajj buses to reduce contact with others, and there was a medical clinic at each residence complex, where doctors checked the pilgrims’ health and supplied any required medication.

Farida, an Indonesian pilgrim, was among those privileged to perform Hajj this year.

She said being selected was “unbelievable and priceless,” and expressed her happiness and gratitude at being able to perform the once-in-a-lifetime duty.

“This is like a blessing for me from Allah before I leave Saudi Arabia for good,” she said. “It was very well organized, I take my hat off to the Ministry of Hajj and Ministry of Health.”

Walid bin Abdullah Bukhari, Saudi ambassador to Lebanon

Updated 09 August 2020

Walid bin Abdullah Bukhari, Saudi ambassador to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its relief efforts in Lebanon following the deadly explosions in Beirut.

Saudi Ambassador Walid bin Abdullah Bukhari said the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center began organizing emergency aid immediately after the incident.

Bukhari has been the Saudi envoy to Lebanon since December 2018. He previously served as charge d’affaires at the embassy from March 2018 until his current appointment.

Bukhari obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science with distinction at the King Abdul Aziz University in 1995.

He obtained a higher diploma in diplomatic studies at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Riyadh in 2000, and a master’s in international politics from California State University, Fullerton.

He joined the Saudi diplomatic corps in 1996. In 1999, he was appointed deputy head of the mission of the Kingdom’s embassy in Niger.

Bukhari served as the consul general in Los Angeles from 2002 to 2006. In 2007, he was appointed to the office of the undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He became director of total quality management in 2009.

In 2013, he was assigned a role at the Saudi Embassy in Berlin. He was appointed assistant director general of planning and development at the ministry in 2016. He also served as the director general of diplomatic affairs and protocol and deputy undersecretary for protocol affairs in 2017.