The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Transport says it has completed the maintenance of 491 km of roads leading to Makkah, as well as assigned transportation for each pilgrim group with “full precautionary measures”, ahead of this year’s Hajj pilgramage.

Periodic and preventive maintenance was carried out on several major roads leading to Makkah Al Mukaramah, including Al Madinah Highway, Jeddah Highway, Old Jeddah Road, Al Sail Road, Al Hada Road, Al Layth Road.

Completed works included new lighting, bridge expansion, fence repair, scraping and asphalting, “as well upkeep of directional signs, road signs, road sign holders, paints, cat eyes, construction of concrete and metal barriers, and fence wires. Wadi Ash Shu’bah ferry also started its operation,” the ministry explained in a statement.

With this year’s pilgrimage coinciding with the Coronavirus pandemic, buses have been organised for each pilgrim group with a dedicated seat number for each pilgrim for their entire Hajj trip.

Other precautions include asking pilgrims, except for those needing assistance, to enter and exit the bus through different doors. Should a passenger found to be COVID-19 positive, the bus will be held until it has been thoroughly disinfected.

The number of passengers must not exceed 50% of the total capacity of the bus with a seat left vacant between two passengers and standing inside the bus is not allowed. All prigrims must adhere to physical distancing inside the bus although families can sit together. All passengers must wear facemasks.

“These steps follow the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince with the support and supervision of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah Al Mukaramah Province, and the follow-up of Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Minister of Transport, to serve the visitors of the Holy House of Allah,” explained the ministry.

Al-Jasser said he is seeking the cooperation of all transport users to comply with the necessary preventative measures against COVID-19.