Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health, Fahad Al-Jalajel, said there were no outbreaks or threats to public health during this year's haj season, reflecting the success of the health plans drawn up by the ministry.

"I am pleased to announce the success of this year's Hajj health plans and the absence of any outbreaks or threats to public health, witnessing the return of this seasons' pilgrim numbers to what they were before the pandemic," Al Jalajel said in a statement.

The health minister extended his thanks to the Supreme Haj Committee, headed by Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, Minister of Interior, in overcoming all health challenges, as well as to the Ministry of Interior for its effective contribution in implementing the health plans.

"More than 354 healthcare facilities from all health sectors have been prepared to serve pilgrims by the health system, with help from more than 36,000 health cadres from all health sectors, supported by more than 7,600 volunteers," he said.

The number of pilgrims receiving healthcare services exceeded 400,000, of which 50 underwent open heart surgery, 800 received cardiac catheters, and more than 1,600 had dialysis sessions.

Virtual health consultations through Seha Virtual Hospital SVH were provided for 4,000 pilgrims, and 8,000 were treated for heat stress.

This year’s haj was the largest gathering of pilgrims since 2019, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the General Authority for Statistics, there were a total of 899,353 pilgrims in 2022.

(Writing by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)