Hajj season nears end with no COVID-19 at holy sites

Pilgrims pray at Jamarat after throwing stones at the symbolic Satan. (SPA)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Hajj season nears end with no COVID-19 at holy sites

  • Grand Mosque cleaned 10 times a day during the pandemic crisis

MAKKAH: Pilgrims returned to the Jamarat Bridge for the stoning ritual on Saturday, the fourth day of Hajj, as the season neared an end with no cases of COVID-19 at the holy sites.

The Saudi Health Ministry said the pilgrims’ health status was reassuring, and there had been no public health issues this season.

The Grand Mosque was sterilized and disinfected after pilgrims completed their Tawaf Al-Ifada ritual on the third day of Hajj. 

The mosque has been cleaned 10 times a day during the pandemic crisis.

Dr. Amani Al-Saadi, a health mentor taking part in Hajj this year, said the pilgrims’ health status was monitored from when they left their accommodation until they returned at the end of the day.

Each pilgrim had a designated seat on the Hajj buses to reduce contact with others, and there was a medical clinic at each residence complex, where doctors checked the pilgrims’ health and supplied any required medication.

Farida, an Indonesian pilgrim, was among those privileged to perform Hajj this year.

She said being selected was “unbelievable and priceless,” and expressed her happiness and gratitude at being able to perform the once-in-a-lifetime duty.

“This is like a blessing for me from Allah before I leave Saudi Arabia for good,” she said. “It was very well organized, I take my hat off to the Ministry of Hajj and Ministry of Health.”


Saudi app fights fake promotions, discounts

Some stores raise the prices then claim they are offering discounts. (SPA)
Updated 30 September 2020

Saudi app fights fake promotions, discounts

  • Companies and online businesses can apply for a discount license and promote seasonal sales through the application

RIYADH: A new electronic app will now protect consumers against fake and illegal discount offers and promotions, said a spokesman for the Saudi Commerce Ministry.
The app will also let consumers check if sales are still valid and useable. If they are invalid, consumers can report violations directly to the ministry, he said on Tuesday.
The spokesman, Abdulrahman Al-Hussain, said that companies offering discounts are required to follow certain procedures. They must apply for a license, mention products covered by discounts, provide a list of product prices before and after discount, give a discount percentage and put a before and after prices on a product price tag, he said.
The e-discounts app also lists companies that have a license to offer discounts, and explains the types of discounts licensed by the ministry. The app can be accessed on smartphones.

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The e-discounts app lists companies that have a license to offer discounts.

Another feature available on the app is the ability to search for consumables or companies and show the percentage and duration of discounts. It also allows consumers to find the location of a company through Google Maps.
“The ministry requires the companies to print the license of discounts and display it properly. For online stores, the license of discounts should be clearly shown on the website,” said Al-Hussain.
“Companies and online businesses can apply for a discount license and promote seasonal sales through the application. This service gives discounts, sales, and promotions more credibility,” he added.
Muhammad Al-Hamad, a former president of the Consumer Protection Association, said the ministry should double-check the prices before discounts and ensure there is a price tag showing the price and the value-added tax, as well as the discount percentage and price after tax.
“Some stores raise the prices then claim they are offering discounts. The consumer should search for the quality before the price and also ask if there is an aftersales service,” he said. “The consumer should also demand a receipt because this is the only proof showing that he or she has bought the product,” he added.