Umrah access for Indonesia opened due to better COVID-19 handling

Umrah access for Indonesia opened due to better COVID-19 handling

The situation of Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. (ANTARA/Yudi Abdullah/uyu)

In the future, we really expect that we can also do the Hajj soon.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reopened access for Indonesian umrah pilgrims in view of the improved handling of COVID-19 in Indonesia, Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Zainut Tauhid Sa'adi said here on Tuesday.

The decision was the result of long and intense lobbying both at the level of the foreign minister, religious affairs minister, and health minister, he informed.

According to the COVID-19 Task Force, additional COVID-19 cases began to decline during August-October 2021. In fact, there were 15 provinces with zero mortality a few days ago.

Thus, as the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has kept decreasing, the government of Saudi Arabia has approved the arrival of Indonesian Umrah pilgrims through a diplomatic note issued by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Jakarta on October 8, 2021.

Related news: Indonesia lobbies Saudi Arabia for Umrah permits

However, the deputy minister said that before Indonesia can dispatch its first Umrah pilgrimage group, the ministry has to wait for the technical guidance to be completed.

Furthermore, he stated that the ministry will continue to coordinate with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Health Ministry as well as with related authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the implementation of the Umrah reopening policy.

"In the near future, the Religious Affairs Minister will pay a working visit to Saudi Arabia to communicate with the authorities. Hopefully, the minister can accelerate the regulation on organizing the Hajj and Umrah," he remarked.

Currently, a special committee in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is working to minimize the obstacles that can prevent Indonesian pilgrims from performing Umrah, he informed.

"In the future, we really expect that we can also do the Hajj soon,” Sa'adi added.

Related news: Indonesia asks Saudi Arabia to review its vaccine, umrah policies