Hefty fine for entering Grand Mosque, holy sites without Hajj permit

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Riyadh:  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Sunday announced the imposition of a fine of 10,000 Saudi Riyals (Rs 198,704) on anyone who enters the holy sites without a Hajj permit, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The ministry of interior stated that the penalty will be doubled if anyone caught trying to reach the Grand Mosque, the central area surrounding it, and the holy sites (Mina, Muzdalifah, Arafat) without a permit.

“Heightened security measures and strict COVID-19-related restrictions will be implemented to prevent entry to holy sites without a permit from July 5 to 23, 13 days before the annual pilgrimage, which is expected to begin on July 17,” the SPA quoted the ministry of interior.

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The move is part of the Saudi Arabian government’s prevention protocol approach to curb the spread of COVID-19 during this month’s Hajj season.

The ministry urged all citizens and residents to abide by the instructions for this year’s Hajj season.

“Security personnel will perform their duties on all roads, security checkpoints, as well as at locations and corridors leading to the Grand Mosque to prevent attempts to break the rules,” SPA added.

For this year’s Hajj, the general presidency assigned nearly ten thousand qualified workers to serve the pilgrims.

Earlier in the month of June, Saudi Arabia said that due to the ongoing COVID-19 and its variants, this year’s Hajj performance will be limited to 60,000 citizens and residents of the Kingdom between the ages 18 and 65 years for the second year in a row.

This year’s Hajj season is likely to begin on July 17. The deadline will be determined after the sighting of the new moon.