Ministry health

13 Hajj returnees tested positive for COVID-19: ministry

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

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

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

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

Pilgrims positive for COVID-19 are in isolation in accordance with applicable health protocols, Syahril informed.

Based on health protocols, only pilgrims with symptoms will undergo COVID-19 tests at disembarkation points, he said.

“Because they (the pilgrims) received the booster (vaccine dose),” he added.

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During this time, pilgrims in good health will be allowed to return home but will be asked to monitor their health for 21 days.

The Ministry of Health is distributing Hajj Pilgrim Health Alert Cards (K3JH) to all pilgrims at disembarkation points. The cards contain the history of the pilgrims’ health examinations during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

K3JH could prove useful in monitoring the health of pilgrims given 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 given a quota of 100,051 for the pilgrimage.

Although it has allowed foreign pilgrims to perform Hajj this year, Saudi Arabia has imposed two conditions on them. First, they had to be under 65 and they had to take the full dose of any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Saudi Ministry of Health.

Secondly, pilgrims coming from abroad had to carry a certificate indicating a negative PCR result, the test being carried out no later than 72 hours before departure.

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