Coronavirus: Mecca authorities stop 2,050 from illegally entering Hajj holy sites

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Security forces in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca stopped at least 2,050 people from illegally entering the holy sites without a permit during the limited Hajj pilgrimage this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the spokesman of the Hajj Security Forces Command.

“We stopped 2,050 who were in violation of the entry instructions into the holy sites and legal measures are set to be taken against them,” the statement published on the Saudi Press Agency read.

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Fines imposed on illegal entry into Mecca come into effect on July 19 ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage being held this year in a limited capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

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Only up to 10,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia were able to participate in this year's Hajj pilgrimage, compared with 2019's gathering of some 2.5 million from around the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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