Islam

Hajj 2021: PTF, NAHCON map out COVID-19 strategic guideline

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Federal Ministry of Health are mapping out strategic guidelines on COVID-19 preventive measures to safeguard Nigerian pilgrims during the 2021 hajj operation.

This came as Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Benten said that it is advisable for intending pilgrims frim Nigeria and other parts of the World, who wish to perform Umrah, to receive the coronavirus vaccine. The Head, Public Affairs of NAHCON, Hajiya Fatima Usara, announced the guidelines in a statement obtained by New Telegraph.

Hajiya Usara asked all intending pilgrims and officials of State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards to continue to observe COVID-19 protocols. This, she said, is to curtail the spread of the pandemic, which has entered the second wave. According to her NAHCON is awaiting further directives from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in reverence to its (the Kingdom) divine role as the custodians of the two holy mosques and its domain.

“The Commission would continue to commend and trust the Kingdom for its courage in taking difficult decisions in the interest of Muslims all over the world, even where the unfavourable effect of such decisions was borne by the Kingdom itself,” she said.

She assured Nigerian Muslims that as soon as the Saudi Arabia authority communicates new guidelines on the 2021 Hajj and Umrah, it would take appropriate actions in the interest of intending pilgrims. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Benten said that it is advisable for intending pilgrims frim Nigeria and other parts of the World, who wish to perform Umrah, to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

All the precautionary measures and preventive protocols are being taken to stem the spread of coronavirus and that is in coordination with the Ministry of Health, the minister said, while emphasizing that the Umrah pilgrimage is “safe”. Benten made the remarks while speaking to Al-Arabiya channel after receiving coronavirus vaccine dose in Jeddah. “Anyone who registers to receive coronavirus vaccine through the Sehhaty application and wants to perform Umrah, must take the vaccine,” he said.

Benten said that all the precautionary measures and preventive protocols such as social distancing, using sanitizer, wearing masks, in addition to the age limit for the performance of the Umrah rituals will be applied.

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