"Of the 84,855 Muslims from East Java registered for Umrah in the computerized Umrah supervision system at the Religious Affairs Ministry as of February 24, 2020, 81,644 have settled their Umrah pilgrimage cost," Chief of the Hajj and Umrah Development Section of the East Java Provincial Office of the Religious Affairs Ministry Mahsun Zain said here Thursday.
"They will probably not leave (for Saudi Arabia) following the Saudi government's policy to temporarily suspend foreign nationals' access (to the Holy Land) as of today as a precautionary measure to stem the spread of the coronavirus or Covid-19," he said.
His office is awaiting directives from the Religious Affairs Ministry about the Saudi government's policy and will later coordinate with relevant parties including travel agents, Umrah pilgrimage service operators, airline companies and airport in responding to the policy, he said.
"We have not met them to respond to the issue. There must be directives from the Religious Affairs through a circular," he said.
The Indonesian government respects the Saudi government’s decision to temporarily halt Umrah from outside the kingdom amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In Jakarta Thursday, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expressed respect at the decision aimed at prioritizing the Saudi citizens' health and safety amid the spread of the coronavirus that continues to lead to a rising number of casualties.
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There are 81,109 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, with the addition of 871 new cases, including 459 new cases in 37 countries outside China and 412 new cases in China, according to a World Health Organization report as of February 25, 2020.
In view of that, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia has officially temporarily suspended the Umrah pilgrimage services for residents from outside the kingdom.
"The entry of non-Saudis into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Umrah and other visits has been suspended as well as the temporary suspension in the issuance of visas," Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah for Umrah Affairs of Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz bin Wazzan noted in a statement from the Saudi Arabian Hajj Ministry.
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