Tourism Ministry says new umrah travel protocol is on its quartet’s approval

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MalaysiaMalaysia – The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC), said that the new standard operating procedure (SOP) for umrah travel has been refined in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Disaster Management Agency (NadmA), and the document will be presented for approval at a quartet meeting.

As stated by MOTAC, the SOP serves as an instruction manual for pilgrims performing umrah activities, with particular emphasis on ensuring that they are covered by insurance that covers health-related expenses, including treatment, isolation, and quarantine requirements for Covid-19 infection while in Saudi Arabia and upon return to Malaysia. MOTAC said the SOP was intended to help pilgrims prevent the spread of Covid-19 while performing umrah activities.

In addition, the SOP ensures that pilgrims are fully vaccinated and that they are required to receive booster vaccinations for their own safety, as well as holding the umrah operator responsible for informing pilgrims about their responsibilities, procedures, liabilities, and instructions throughout the pilgrimage.

Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Commission (MOTAC) said in a statement today that the process of finalizing the new SOP had taken into consideration the interests of all parties holistically, including balancing umrah activities with the implementation of stricter health and safety protocols to protect Malaysians in the Holy Land and when they return home.

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Malaysian families and enterprises conducting the umrah pilgrimage are expected to appreciate the decision, according to a statement from Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri. She also urged everyone to follow the new standard operating procedure.

As reported by MOTAC, during its meeting on January 26, the Cabinet unanimously resolved to enable Muslims in the nation to continue the umrah pilgrimage beginning on February 8, after it had been briefly halted due to the transmission of the Omicron Covid-19 strain among returning pilgrims.

It was also stopped in order to provide time for government agencies and other parties involved to analyze and enhance the standard operating procedure for umrah pilgrimages.

MOTAC stated that a total of eight engagement sessions have been held between its minister and umrah companies such as the Malaysian Association of Bumiputera Tourism Operating Companies Malaysia (BUMITRA), the Association of Umrah and Haj Travel Agencies (PAPUH), and the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) since December last year.

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