Pakistan’s health ministry has decided to conduct a rapid antigen test at the airports to detect COVID-19 in the Hajj pilgrims upon their return to the country.

The national health ministry has directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to submit details of the pilgrims. The DG CAA has been asked to appoint its officials along with the personnel of the Airport Security Force (ASF) to conduct rapid antigen tests at the airports.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims from around the world converged in Maidan-e-Arafat on Friday to perform the Rukn-e-Azam of Hajj “Waqoof-e-Arafat” which marks climax of the Hajj.

The worshippers, capped at one million including 850,000 from abroad, spent the night at camps in the valley of Mina.

On Friday comes the highlight of the Hajj: ascending Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) delivered his final sermon.

The pilgrims will listen the Hajj Sermon at Masjid-e-Nimrah while staying in Arafat on Friday. Dr Al Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al Issa will deliver the sermon.

Worshippers will pray and recite the holy Quran for several hours at the mountain and sleep nearby.

After Azaan-e-Maghrib, the pilgrims will leave for Muzdalifah where they will offer Maghrib and Isha prayers together and spend the night under open sky. From Muzdalifah, pilgrims will also collect pebbles to throw at Satin the next morning.

After offering Fajr Prayer at Muzdalifah, they will leave for Mina for remaining Hajj rituals.

The Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for all Muslims physically and financially able to make the journey.

This year’s hajj is taking place against the backdrop of a resurgence of Covid-19 in the region. All participants were required to submit proof of full vaccination and negative PCR tests.