No one was able to enter the Holy sites in Mecca and Medina during this year’s Hajj season without a permit amid heightened security and strict coronavirus-related restrictions, Saudi Arabia’s Commander of the Hajj security forces said on Sunday.
“The security measures were implemented strictly, and no one was able to enter the Holy sites alongside Hajj pilgrims without a permit,” he said in an interview with Saudia state TV.
“We’ve announced that over 2,000 violators were arrested, and legal action taken against them,” he added.
Saudi Arabia’s authorities had announced that anyone who attempted to enter Holy sites during Hajj without prior authorization would be detained and would face penalties including a 10,000 Saudi riyal fine ($2,666). Repeat offenders would be fined twice the amount.
The Kingdom’s authorities had also set penalties for those who illegally transport pilgrims who have not been approved to perform Hajj this year, including jail sentences and fines.
Pilgrims conclude Hajj rituals
Pilgrims performed the final “tawaf,” or circumambulation ritual, in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, on the final day of this year’s extraordinary Hajj.
Watch: Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia perform the final “tawaf,” or circumambulation ritual – when Muslims walk around the Kaaba seven times – as the final day of this year's Hajj nears completion under strict coronavirus precautionary measures.https://t.co/PgiH6QlzuE pic.twitter.com/PfGyWq0F9e— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 2, 2020
The health ministry confirmed that no pilgrims tested positive for the coronavirus during the Hajj journey.
The President General of Two Holy Mosques Affairs Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz al-Sudais announced the success of this year’s Hajj season and the authorities plan to safeguard the pilgrims and ensure the adherence to strict health precautions necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to state news agency SPA.
The Kingdom allowed only 10,000 residents of Saudi Arabia from different nationalities to perform Hajj this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime. Approximately, 2.5 million pilgrims typically visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj.
Watch: Muslim pilgrims perform Tawaf, circumambulating the #Kaaba, on the third day of #Hajj, dramatically downsized this year as #SaudiArabia strives to prevent a #coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage.https://t.co/HFqCTJ4hHD pic.twitter.com/Haaf4ULBuk— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 31, 2020