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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Authorities in Saudi Arabia have said that anyone caught contravening coronavirus restrictions on this year’s Hajj will be hit with a 10,000 riyal (Dh9,780) fine.
The fine applies to those who attend Hajj without a state-allocated permit, with only a few allowed to take part in this year’s pilgrimage, which will take place between July 19 and August 2.
An interior ministry official told Saudi Arabia’s official news agency that anyone apprehended without a permit at Muna, Muzdalifah and Arafat, the main Hajj stations, will be fined, and the amount would double for repeat offenders.
Security forces will seal off the areas and patrol the grounds to prevent "violations, monitor entry and mete punishment to all the violators”.
Last week, the government announced that only 1,000 people would be allowed to perform Hajj this year, as cases in the Kingdom continue to spike.
Attendance from abroad has been banned, and those present at Hajj will comprise 70 per cent residents and 30 per cent citizens, with health sector employees being given priority.
Under new Hajj measures unveiled this week, everyone from workers to worshippers will be required to wear masks.
Mass prayer will be allowed while preserving social distancing, and those suspected of being infected with Covid-19 will be isolated but allowed to finish the ritual.
The latest official data on Sunday showed that 42 more people died of the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, bringing total deaths to 2,223 people.
The official number of people who have been infected in Saudi Arabia stood at 232,259. Among them were 2,779 cases confirmed on Sunday.
Updated: July 13, 2020 03:04 PM
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