KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Muslims will soon be allowed to perform “umrah” (minor pilgrimage) following the recent decision made by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to reopen the two of most holy religious sites in Islam.
Relevant officials of both countries have reached the final stage regarding the discussions on procedures and health requirements.
“The [Indonesian] Embassy has received information from the relevant parties in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding precautionary measures for the umrah pilgrims from Indonesia,” said Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Saturday, October 9.
In response to this matter, the chairman of the central executive board of the Association of Indonesia Haj and Umrah Organizations (Amphuri) Firman M Nur said that his party would re-evaluate the preparation of the mitigation plan for the umrah and haj pilgrimage during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The existing mitigation plans need to be re-evaluated and in line with the procedures set by Saudi Arabia,” said Firman told Kompas.com on Sunday, October 10.
Firman said that the focus now is to send umrah pilgrims who had postponed their trips in February last year.
The pilgrims are also required to follow the regulations during the pandemic, including the vaccination and maintaining their health. “The pilgrims whose departures have been postponed since February 2020 will be prioritized for the umrah pilgrimage,” he explained.
Firman further added that Saudi Arabia recognizes four vaccines namely Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. The Indonesian prospective pilgrims who have received the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines need to take Covid-19 booster shots from one of the four vaccines recognized by Saudi Arabia.
Firman said his party is working closely with the Ministry of Health in obtaining the Covid-19 booster shots for the pilgrims. He hoped that the government will ensure that the vaccination barcode of the vaccinated Indonesian pilgrims can be read by the devices in Saudi Arabia.
However, he said that Saudi Arabia has eased their rules. “Vaccinated umrah pilgrims who have received a complete series of a Covid-19 vaccine and have a negative Covid-19 test can perform the pilgrimage,” he said.
Besides, the authorities in Saudi Arabia will still allow unvaccinated umrah pilgrims to enter the Kingdom as long as they undergo a five-day quarantine before performing the umrah pilgrimage.
(Writer: Ahmad Naufal Dzulfaroh | Editor: Sari Hardiyanto)
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