Gov’t to Monitor Indonesian Umrah Pilgrims Affected by Saudi’s Umrah Temporary Ban
Date 27 Februari 2020
The Government has announced it will continue to monitor Indonesian pilgrims on umrah (minor hajj) pilgrimage who are affected by the decision made by Government of Saudi Arabia that has imposed a temporary ban on umrah amid the concern of outbreak of coronavirus .
“The Indonesian Government understands the decision made to keep Saudi Arabia safe from the outbreak of coronavirus,” said Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Thursday (27/2).
According to the Minister, Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has emphasized several times regarding the Saudi Government’s temporary ban on all umrah pilgrimage.
The Indonesian Government, she added, could understand that the temporary ban was in place for the sake of the people’s health, especially the pilgrims. “There is an impact to the policy, including a number of Indonesian and other citizens that have departed to Saudi Arabia,” the Minister said.
Retno added the Government expected the Kingdom to reconsider the ban on Indonesian umrah pilgrims and carry out health examination according to applicable procedures.
“I have not received further information yet. However, if the policy also applies for Indonesia, then it should be implemented for other countries as well,” Retno added.
On that occasion, Retno said that she will meet with Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Minister of Transportation, state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura, and Minister of Religious Affairs on the impact of the ban.
On the policy revocation, Retno said that it will depend on the spread of Covid-19. To date, there are no Indonesian umrah pilgrims in Saudi Arabia forced to leave the country.
“There is no further information yet. All of Indonesia’s representatives in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East region are now on stand-by, especially those in Jeddah and Riyadh,” the Minister said.
For the record, people coming from a number of countries have temporarily banned from entering the Kingdom. Those countries include Indonesia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.
“The policy is actually not relevant for Indonesia since the country is still clean from Covid-19 cases,” she said.
The Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Retno continued, will submit this question to the capital in Riyadh, while the Indonesian Ambassador in Riyadh will also reach authorities in Saudi Arabia regarding the issue.
“The Government will evacuate 188 Indonesian World Dream cruise ship crew members to Sebaru Island We are also preparing an evacuation for crew members aboard the Yokohama Diamond Princess. In addition, we will also manage the impact of the Saudi’s policy following the Saudi government’s temporary ban,” the Minister said.
In the meantime, Retno also said that the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea has set up a post located 53 kilometers away from the central city of Daegu in order to anticipate the situation in the city.
“We will handle the issue immediately, given that a lot of our citizens are in the region,” the Minister added. (MAY / EN)
Translated by: Syarifah Aisyah
Reviewed by: M. Ersan Pamungkas