KUALA LUMPUR: Umrah pilgrims are required to take the COVID-19 vaccine booster dose under the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) announced by the government, effective Feb 14.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said umrah pilgrims would be allowed to undergo mandatory quarantine at home without having to submit the Home Quarantine Application (HQA).

“Pilgrims will also be allowed to undergo mandatory quarantine at private quarantine stations with the cost of accommodation, food and treatment borne by themselves.

“In addition, the person in charge from travel agencies need to monitor SOP compliance among pilgrims while in the Holy Land, travelling back to Malaysia and at the international entry points into the country,” he told a press conference on the outcome of the COVID-19 quartet ministerial meeting here today.

Hishammuddin said pilgrims who depart for the Holy Land from today until Feb 13 are subject to the existing SOPs but are required to comply with the new set of SOPs upon returning to the country.

On Jan 26, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the Cabinet has decided to allow Muslims to resume umrah trips from Feb 8.

The decision was made as the government did not intend to extend the postponement period of umrah trips which came into effect on Jan 8 following the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant infection. - Bernama