Govt to bear quarantine costs for pilgrims

Pilgrims have the option of either dealing directly with private quarantine centres listed by Nadma or choosing to quarantine at govt-run centres

by ASILA JALIL / pic by BERNAMA

THE government will bear the cost of quarantine for returning pilgrims from umrah who opt to quarantine in government-run centres.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Abd Latiff Ahmad (picture) said pilgrims have the option of either dealing directly with private quarantine centres listed by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) or choosing to quarantine at centres that are run by the government.

“For quarantine centres that are managed by the government, persons under surveillance who are pilgrims tested negative for the Covid-19 test done by the Ministry of Health (MoH), they will be placed at hotels or public training institutions subject to the availability of rooms on the day of arrival.

“For this option, quarantine costs will be borne by the government including meals as well as transportation from the airport,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The quarantine duration is determined by the MoH.

Public training institutions quarantine stations include AKEPT Nilai, IAB Nilai, ILIM Bangi, ASEF Bangi, Ilkap Bangi in Selangor and Pulapol Kuala Lumpur (KL).

Hotels listed as quarantine stations are Klana Resort in Seremban, Negri Sembilan; while in KL the hotels are Royal Hotel, Swiss Garden Hotel, Bukit Bintang; IBIS Hotel, KLCC; Furama Hotel, Bukit Bintang; Mercure Hotel, Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade; IBIS Style KL Fraser Business Park; Ancasa Hotel; Cosmo Hotel; KIP Hotel and Arena Star Hotel.

The quarantine stations in Selangor are Sama-Sama Hotel; Dorsett Grand Hotel, Subang; Crystal Crown Hotel; Petaling Jaya; Sunway Clio Hotel; Hilton Garden Inn Hotel; Oriental Crystal Hotel; Summit Hotel, USJ 8 and Pegasus Hotel, Shah Alam.

The government has temporarily suspended umrah trips beginning Jan 8 to curb the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said the authorities were concerned that non-compliance with home quarantine procedures among returning pilgrims had caused the spread of the new variant among family members.

Several umrah agencies have called for the government to reconsider the decision as it could incur costs to pilgrims.

TH Travel & Services Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Ahmad Ruzman Ahmad Razali had previously said that the suspension would incur high costs onto prospective pilgrims who had made bookings and payments.

He said the umrah visa will only be issued after travel agencies made payments which include hotel and transportation costs through the e-wallet system provided by Saudi Arabia’s Haj and Umrah Ministry.

He said the paid amount will not be refunded if there is a delay on its end.

Separately, Bernama reported the Cabinet will have a special meeting today to discuss the suspension of umrah travel following Omicron threats.

Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at the special meeting, Khairy Jamaluddin is expected to table a detailed report on the issue.

“I will get the details tomorrow. I just want to say that I believe the (MoH) decision was made to protect our lives,” he told reporters after visiting flood evacuees at the temporary relief centre at Kampung Tandong, Buloh Kasap, yesterday.

The PM said this when asked about the latest development of the suspension of umrah travel which will take effect on Jan 8.