Agent-based modeling of the hajj rituals with the possible spread of COVID-19

Ali M. Al-Shaery, Bilal Hejase, Abdessamad Tridane, Norah S. Farooqi, Hamad Al Jassmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continuing to spread around the globe, there is an unprecedented need to develop different approaches to containing the pandemic from spreading further. One particular case of importance is mass-gathering events. Mass-gathering events have been shown to exhibit the possibility to be superspreader events; as such, the adoption of effective control strategies by policymakers is essential to curb the spread of the pandemic. This paper deals with modeling the possible spread of COVID-19 in the Hajj, the world’s largest religious gathering. We present an agent-based model (ABM) for two rituals of the Hajj: Tawaf and Ramy al-Jamarat. The model aims to investigate the effect of two control measures: buffers and face masks. We couple these control measures with a third control measure that can be adopted by policymakers, which is limiting the capacity of each ritual. Our findings show the impact of each control measure on the curbing of the spread of COVID-19 under the different crowd dynamics induced by the constraints of each ritual.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6923
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2021

Keywords

  • Agent-based modeling
  • COVID-19
  • Disease dynamics
  • Hajj
  • Preventative measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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