Jakarta (ANTARA) - Thirteen Hajj pilgrims who have returned to Indonesia have tested positive for COVID-19, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Mohammad Syahril, reported on Tuesday.

"Currently, there are only 13 Hajj pilgrims (who have tested positive for COVID-19). They are in Surabaya and others," he confirmed here.

The 13 pilgrims arrived at six debarkation points in the first phase of pilgrim arrivals, he added.

According to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, 11,588 regular Hajj pilgrims have arrived back in Indonesia so far.

The COVID-19-positive pilgrims are undergoing isolation in accordance with the applicable health protocols, Syahril informed.

Based on the health protocols, only pilgrims showing symptoms will undergo COVID-19 testing at debarkation points, he said.

"Because they (the pilgrims) have received the booster (vaccine dose)," he added.

Related news: 11,588 Hajj pilgrims have returned so far: ministry

Meanwhile, healthy pilgrims will be allowed to return home but will be asked to monitor their health for 21 days.

The Ministry of Health is distributing the Hajj Pilgrims Health Alert Cards (K3JH) to all pilgrims at debarkation points. The cards contain the pilgrims’ health screening history while in Saudi Arabia.

K3JH could prove useful for monitoring the health of pilgrims considering that the incubation period for COVID-19 is around two weeks after close contact with infected people.

After two years of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year, Saudi Arabia allowed one million international pilgrims to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. Indonesia was allotted a quota of 100,051 for the pilgrimage.

Although it permitted foreign pilgrims to perform Hajj this year, Saudi Arabia laid down two conditions for them. First, they had to be less than 65 years of age and they were required to take the full dose of any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Saudi Health Ministry.

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

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Suharto
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