(Pilgrims must) perform the Hajj ritual and pray to God a lot
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin sent off the first batch of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims aboard flights departing from the Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, East Java, under the first Hajj departure since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

The vice president arrived at the airport at 7 a.m. local time (UTC +7) and directly boarded the Saudia flight SV5141 to meet Hajj pilgrims from Surabaya, according to the press statement received here on Saturday.

Through the aircraft's information system, Amin encouraged pilgrims to focus on their rituals and maintain their health, as the COVID-19 pandemic was far from over.

"Today is summer (in Saudi Arabia), so you must not wander too far. Because of the high heat, you must also keep yourself healthy," he noted.

He also urged Hajj officials to perform their duties and serve Indonesian Hajj pilgrims properly.

"Once arrived there, officials must not become busy and perform ritual only by themselves and neglect (their obligation) to serve pilgrims. Officials must serve pilgrims properly," Amin emphasized.

The vice president then wished Hajj pilgrims a safe trip and good health to perform their Hajj ritual smoothly until their arrival back to Indonesia.

"(Pilgrims must) perform the Hajj ritual and pray to God a lot. The government also hopes that everything will be smooth," he remarked.

Meanwhile, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa, who accompanied the vice president at the airport, also bid farewell to the Hajj pilgrims while expressing hope that pilgrims would perform their rituals smoothly and return safely to Indonesia.

"Praise be to God, he has invited all of you for this year's Hajj season. I hope everyone as well as (your family) at home will be healthy and all who will perform their Hajj this year would be rewarded by God," Parawansa stated.

A total of 16,087 Hajj pilgrims, including Hajj officials, will be divided into 38 flight batches that will depart from Surabaya, with the last flight batch to depart on July 2.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu AJ, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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