Pilgrims start 7-day COVID-19 isolation before Hajj

Pilgrims start 7-day COVID-19 isolation before Hajj

Pilgrims performing Hajj this year amid the coronavirus pandemic have started home isolation; Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Sunday.

“According to the health protocol approved for Hajj; pilgrims who met the health requirements and conditions for this year’s Hajj have begun the 7-day home isolation procedures,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia had announced on June 22 that it will allow a “limited” number of people to perform Hajj this year. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those individuals will be of different nationalities but already residing in the Kingdom.

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 Makkah and Madinah for the Hajj.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive security cordon to encompass the holy sites, Hajj security forces said on Sunday. This is to prevent anyone without a permit from entering, according to state news agency SPA.

Officials also reiterated that violators will pay a fine of SR10,000 ($2,667); and a double of which in case of repeating the violation.

As for those who illegally transport pilgrims who have not been approved to perform Hajj this year; the security officials said there are several tiers to their penalties.