Since the (pilgrimage) facilities in Armuzna have not been used for two years, it becomes the consideration for (increasing) the price.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Although it is no longer mandatory to mask up, Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Ahmad, has appealed to Hajj pilgrims to continue wearing masks on account of the extreme weather in the kingdom.

"However, it is better to wear masks for our own safety, especially for those who have flu and cough," he said in Medina, Saudi Arabia, on Friday Arabian Standard Time (AST, UTC+3), according to the Hajj Media Center.

Healthy pilgrims must keep wearing masks in view of dust storms and high temperatures, he added. Currently, the temperature in Saudi Arabia is reaching up to 45 degrees Celsius, he noted.

In addition, pilgrims must carry lots of water and snacks to maintain their physical condition.

The Saudi Arabian government has made good preparations for the 2022 Hajj pilgrimage and arranged several conveniences for Indonesian pilgrims, the ambassador stated.

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Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no activity restrictions in Saudi Arabia, but it is mandatory for pilgrims to have obtained full vaccination and booster doses.

Those suffering from COVID-19 symptoms must conduct a PCR test at once and undergo self-isolation. If the test is negative, they can carry out the pilgrimage normally.

The test is quite cheap, with the most expensive one costing SAR100 (Saudi Riyal) or around Rp300 thousand (US$20.55), Ahmad said.

He further informed that the increase in transportation and accommodation costs for pilgrims, officers, as well as guides for their stay in Arafah, Mina, and Muzdalifah (Armuzna) will be applicable to nationals from all countries.

"Since the (pilgrimage) facilities in Armuzna have not been used for two years, it becomes the consideration for (increasing) the price," he added.

Hence, the Religious Affairs Ministry has proposed an additional operational cost for Indonesian Hajj pilgrims of around Rp1.5 trillion (US$102.7 million) to cover the increase in transportation and accommodation costs in Armuzna; technical costs for the landing of the Surabaya embarkation pilgrims; Saudi Arabian Airlines flight exchange rate difference; as well as special Hajj operational costs.
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Translator: Desi Purnamawati, Uyu Liman
Editor: Suharto
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