Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Religious Affairs dispatched 413 Indonesian Hajj pilgrimage officers from the 2022 Hajj Organizing Committee (PPIH) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday.

"Various trainings and technical guidance have been provided, so that they become a strong team," Director General for Hajj and Umrah at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Hilman Latief stated at the officers' dispatch ceremony at the Pondok Gede Hajj Dormitory here on Thursday.

The 413 officers comprise 280 officers from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and 133 officers from the Ministry of Health. They will serve Indonesian Hajj pilgrims in Mecca for 64 days.

In providing services to the pilgrims, the officers will face various challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which is far from over, and extreme temperatures reaching more than 40 degrees Celsius.

"I want to convey the message from the minister of religious affairs to protect the good name of the Indonesian nation. The point is to provide the best services to the pilgrims," he remarked.

The 413 officers are scheduled to depart under two schemes via the Soekarno-Hatta Airport aboard Garuda Indonesia and Saudi Airlines aircraft. They are scheduled to land at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah.

Related news: Religious Ministry sets up Whatsapp Center for 2022 Hajj pilgrims

Earlier, as many as 325 Hajj pilgrimage officers had already departed on June 1, 2022, to serve in the Jeddah Hajj Affairs Office (KUH), Airport Work Area, and Medina Work Area.

This year, Saudi Arabia has allowed one million pilgrims from various countries to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. Indonesia has been allotted a quota of 100,051 people for the pilgrimage.

Although it has given permission for foreign pilgrims to perform Hajj, Saudi Arabia has laid down two conditions for them this year. First, the pilgrims must not be older than 65 years and must have received the full dose of any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Saudi Health Ministry.

Second, pilgrims traveling from abroad must have a certificate showing a negative PCR result, with the test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure.

Related news: Ministry urges Indonesian Hajj pilgrims to comply with baggage policy

Translator: Desi Purnamawati, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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