Good news! After two years of closed borders to Saudi Arabia, Malaysians will be allowed to perform Umrah starting 18 October 2021. What a great dream this is that we are able to visit the majestic Kaabah again. Undoubtedly, with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there are rules and restrictions imposed by both the Saudi Arabian and Malaysian governments. Here's what you should know about the current situation to perform Umrah ?
P.S. Will this be your first time going to umrah? Here are 12 useful tips for you!
What You Should Know About Performing Umrah Now
Credit: @are_ej117 on Instagram
1. Floor price for an Umrah package
According to MOTAC, the floor price for an Umrah package is set at RM6,900 for 12 days and 10 nights. This is an increase from 2017 when it was only RM4,900. The ministry mentioned that the raised price is due to the cost of performing Umrah in complying with the SOPs set by both Malaysian and Saudi Arabian governments. Among the new SOPs are reduced guestroom capacity, only 50% transport vehicle capacity, Covid-19 test swabs and Mutawwif services. The floor price will be reviewed again once the pandemic is declared over and no strict SOPs are required.
The ministry also reminded pilgrims to be aware of scammers and be wary of prices that are over the floor price limit or too low. Any suspicions can be reported to the ministry and if any confirmation is needed about a company's legitimacy, one can call a state tourism branch or visit their website since every company who wish to sell a package must have a permit.
2. Vaccines that are approved by Saudi Arabia
Fully vaccinated pilgrims are allowed to enter the kingdom and must show proof of full vaccination. According to Arab News, Saudi Arabia approves of four vaccines which are Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. Those who have completed their vaccination with Sinovac may also perform Umrah, provided they've received another booster shot from one of the approved vaccines.
3. Quota of Malaysian pilgrims entering Saudi Arabia
Malay Mail reported that the number of Malaysian pilgrims that are allowed to enter will depend on the Saudi Arabian government. Currently, the kingdom allows only 100,000 pilgrims to perform umrah daily.
4. Quarantine period upon arriving the holy land
As for now, the Malaysian government has yet to release any confirmed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for pilgrims but they will announce them soon. According to Saudi Arabia government's website, fully vaccinated visitors are not required to undergo any quarantine periods and should present a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours before departure. All visitors must also have Covid-19 insurance.
However, those who are fully vaccinated with vaccines not recognized by the kingdom and haven't received a booster shot from an approved vaccine must undergo a 5-day quarantine at a designated hotel. Quarantine will be lifted if the PCR test result comes out negative on the fifth day.
We are happy that we can perform umrah now and hope to hear more good news about performing pilgrimages soon! For more information and personal experiences, try reading these articles:
- 5 Things You Should Know If You're Performing Hajj And Umrah In 2021
- Umrah With Kids: 20 Essential Tips You’d Need (From Personal Experience!)
- Here’s What You Need To Know Before Planning Your DIY Umrah (From Personal Experience!)