Saudi Arabia lifts entry ban from Indonesia starting on December 1

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Following the lifting of the flight suspension, we and the Saudi Arabian Hajj and Umrah Ministry will discuss the technical implementation of Umrah.

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Saudi Arabia has lifted the suspension on direct flights from Indonesia starting on December 1, 2021, Director General of Hajj and Umrah at the Religious Affairs Ministry Hilman Latief has informed.

“The decision regulated in the circular issued by the Saudi Arabian aviation authority – the General Authority of Civil Aviation — dated November 25, 2021, also applies to flights for Umrah pilgrims,” he said in a written statement received here on Sunday.

However, he noted, it does not imply that Indonesian Umrah pilgrims can be dispatched immediately on December 1, 2021, as a number of arrangements must be carried out, including the pilgrims’ data collection, service preparations, and visa processing.

“Following the lifting of the flight suspension, we and the Saudi Arabian Hajj and Umrah Ministry will discuss the technical implementation of Umrah,” Latief stated.

Latief and the Hajj Consul team of the Indonesian Consulate General (KJRI) in Jeddah has been scheduled to discuss the scenario for organizing Umrah with the Saudi Arabian ministry.

He informed that at the meeting, his party would explain Indonesia’s readiness and scenarios for dispatching the pilgrims in the midst of the pandemic, including the one gate policy, validation of vaccine certificates and COVID-19 PCR test results.

“We will also discuss the scheme and duration of self-isolation in Saudi, including the activities schedule and the stay period of the pilgrims,” Latief stated.

He hoped that the joint scenario can be agreed soon, thus it can be a guide for the government, the organizers of the Umrah pilgrimage, and also the pilgrims.

“Hopefully, Indonesians can immediately relieve their longing for going to the Holy Land,” he added.

The GACA on November 25 issued its instructions to all air carriers operating in the Kingdom’s airports, regarding the lifting of the suspension of direct entry to Saudi from some banned countries.

The circular provides for direct entry from Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, and India, without the need to spend 14 days outside these countries before entering into the Kingdom. This with the application of institutional quarantine procedures for a period of five days to travellers, regardless of their immunization status outside Saudi Arabia.

Last February, the direct entry ban was imposed due to a global surge in cases linked to variants detected in Britain, South Africa, and Brazil, with fears that vaccines being rolled out worldwide could be less effective against them.

The ban covered the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, the US, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Japan.

Exceptions to the ban included diplomats, medical staff, and their families.

Related news: Indonesians permitted to enter Saudi Arabia without booster vaccine

Related news: Indonesia-Saudi Arabia discussions on umrah regulation to commence

Related news: COVID-19 task force to monitor departure, return of umrah pilgrims

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