Pilgrims will be required to use electronic identification bracelets starting this coming Haj as part of a safety measure, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said, quoting the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.
Launched last week, the electronic bracelet stores the personal information of each pilgrim including where the person entered the Kingdom, visa number, passport number and address.
During last week’s launch of the device, Eisa Mohammad Rawas, undersecretary for Umrah affairs at the ministry, said the new device would allow better service provision by government and private sector bodies including for those who are lost, elderly and do not speak Arabic.
It is water-resistant, connected to GPS, and contains personal and medical information, helping authorities provide care and identify people.
SPA said the devices will also instruct worshippers on timings of prayers and a multi-lingual help desk to guide especially non-Arabic speaking pilgrims around the various rituals of the annual Islamic event.
Saudi Arabia oversees the annual pilgrimage to Makkah by more than two million Muslims from around the world.
Nearly a thousand new surveillance cameras were installed this month at Makkah’s Grand Mosque and linked to control rooms staffed by special forces monitoring pilgrim movements for the event scheduled for August, Haj officials have said.
Undersecretary Rawas said the ministry consulted with travel agents and Haj and Umrah companies here and abroad before designing the bracelets. The information can be accessed using a smartphone by employees of the ministry, and security and services bodies.