Religious Affairs Minister: Covid-19 Vaccine Mandatory for Umrah Pilgrims

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Laila Afifa

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  • Muslims, keeping a safe social distance, perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque after Saudi authorities ease the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, November 1, 2020. Saudi Arabia allows worshippers from other countries to perform the Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca starting on Sunday (November 1) as the kingdom relaxes measures it had taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

    Muslims, keeping a safe social distance, perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque after Saudi authorities ease the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, November 1, 2020. Saudi Arabia allows worshippers from other countries to perform the Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca starting on Sunday (November 1) as the kingdom relaxes measures it had taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaReligious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas confirmed that the Covid-19 vaccine is one of the compulsory requirements for would-be umrah or minor hajj pilgrims set by Saudi Arabia.

    “The requirement to perform umrah pilgrimage is to have been vaccinated. The pilgrimage [activity] has been allowed starting the upcoming Ramadan,” said Yaqut in an official statement issued by the Religious Affairs Ministry on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

    Yaqut said the vaccine must be certified by the World Health Organization or WHO. When asked about the news that the Sinovac vaccine has not received WHO license, Yaqut said he was not aware of the issue yet.

    However, he reiterated that not yet certified does not mean not certified. According to the minister, there might be a process carried out by Sinovac to make its vaccine registered by WHO.

    As for the implementation of hajj, Yaqut said his side continued writing with the Saudi government. The ministry is still trying to communicate directly with the successor to Saleh Benten who served as Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Hajj and Umrah.

    “We have not talked with Saudi Arabia because since Saleh Benten was reshuffled, we have not had access to the new minister yet,” said Yaqut.

    Read: Umrah Program Postponed as Saudi Arabia Issues Another Ban

    FRISKI RIANA