KUCHING: Travel agents have rallied behind the government’s new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Umrah trips which will take effect next Monday (Feb 14).
In giving its backing Malaysian Association of Travel and Tourism Agents (MATTA) Umrah & Hajj Vice President, Mohd Azri Abd Razak said it was very pleased that returning pilgrims from Mecca would now be allowed to observe compulsory quarantine at residences without having to apply for Home Quarantine Application (HQA) approval.
“They are also given a choice to undergo compulsory quarantine at private quarantine stations with the cost of accommodation, meals and treatment borne by the congregation themselves,” he said.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has also announced that the quarantine period must be reduced to five days for pilgrims and travellers from abroad who return to Malaysia and have received the booster dose.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that travellers arriving in Saudi will no longer need to submit a Covid-19 vaccination certificate effective Feb 9.
Travellers only need to submit a negative PCR result within 48 hours from the date of departure to Saudi.
“MATTA recommends that all pilgrims who wish to perform the Umrah must comply with the SOPs set by Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and the MoH itself.
“We also call on all prospective pilgrims to take booster doses in order to reduce the risk of being infected with the Omicron virus which is increasing at the moment and always use RTK antigens to monitor their health so that it is at an optimal level.
“MATTA would like to congratulate MOTAC for conducting an engagement session with members of MATTA,” Mohd Azri added.
He also expressed gratitude to MOTAC and MoH for allowing the resumption of Umrah trips from Feb 8.