Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Religious Affairs has prepared five strategies for supporting an elderly-friendly Hajj pilgrimage this year, Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said on Wednesday.

"We have taken mitigation measures for implementing an elderly-friendly Hajj by devising various strategies, including determining health screening as a prerequisite for completing the payment of pilgrimage costs," he said during a meeting with Commission VIII of the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta.

He elaborated on the second strategy, saying the ministry will provide opportunities for companions of elderly pilgrims to complete their payment in the second stage of payment.

As part of the third strategy, the government will prepare comprehensive, elderly-friendly facilities that will cater to the needs of pilgrims before and after flying to Saudi Arabia, he said.

Meanwhile, the fourth and fifth strategies involve plans to prepare dedicated food as well as special officers for elderly pilgrims, he added.

During the meeting, Commission VIII member Wisnu Wijaya lauded the strategies formulated by the government.

"We would like to appreciate the strategies that have been presented. We all hope that the implementation of this year's Hajj pilgrimage will be better than those in previous years," he said.

Wibowo Prasetyo, a special staff member to Minister Qoumas, in February emphasized the importance of ensuring that this year's pilgrimage is elderly-friendly, noting that of the 241,000 prospective pilgrims in Indonesia, around 40,000 will be elderly.

Indonesia's initial Hajj quota this year was 221,000, but President Joko Widodo secured an additional 20,000 during a bilateral meeting with Saudi Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud in October last year.

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Translator: Tri Meilani, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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