Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia to fine those who enter Mecca without a permit during Hajj

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Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry confirmed it will be imposing a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666) for violators entering the holy sites in Mecca without a permit during the upcoming Hajj season, which will be held in a limited capacity this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Interior said the fine would come into effect from July 19 (28 of Dhul Qadah) until August 2 (12 of Dhul Hijjah).

A picture taken June 23, 2020 shows pilgrims housing tents located between the holy sites of Arafat and Mina in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. (AFP)

A picture taken June 23, 2020 shows pilgrims housing tents located between the holy sites of Arafat and Mina in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca. (AFP)

 

The fine would double to 20,000 Saudi riyals ($5,332) for repeat offenders.

“An official source at the Ministry of Interior called on all citizens and residents to abide by the instructions for the pilgrimage season this year, stressing that security officers will begin their duties in all roads and paths leading up to the holy sites to prevent violations and control any attempt to enter the areas during the specified period,” a statement from the interior ministry released on the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) read.

Saudi Arabia will allow limited Hajj pilgrimage this year due to the continued risk of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities confirmed they have limited the number of pilgrims on this year’s Hajj to 10,000 in line with safety concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline for non-Saudi Arabian pilgrims who want to perform the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj this year passed on Friday.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime. Last year, 2.5 million pilgrims performed their Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

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