TH ready to manage pilgrims’ health, safety for next haj season

TH ready to manage pilgrims’ health, safety for next haj season

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the Haj pilgrimage being postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) still continues its preparations, taking into account the current pandemic situation and developments in Saudi Arabia.Ads by AnyDigital

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TH Haj executive director, Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman, said the planning and preparations had been continuously implemented since the 2020 haj season in an effort to ensure that the Malaysian haj pilgrims will be able to perform the fifth pillar of Islam smoothly.

He said one of the steps implemented was conducting 14 series of haj courses for prospective pilgrims online, including an additional series emphasising the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) in Saudi Arabia as well as the haj rules and regulations in the current environment of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that TH would ensure that prospective pilgrims received their respective vaccinations and have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as required by the Saudi Arabian government before they were allowed to enter the holy land.

Apart from that, TH, during the national-level haj muzakarah held previously, has also emphasised the concept of istito’ah or ability to perform haj during the pandemic.

“In this muzakarah, it was important for us to refine and set resolutions to be used as a pilgrimage guide to perform haj in the new norm by looking at the constraints of movement and obstructions in the event of an outbreak,” he said in an interview with Bernama.

Syed Saleh said TH had also held a meeting with those handling the operations in the country involving departure stations and organised a workshop with the Ministry of Health (MOH) relating to SOPs for staff and health protocols that needed to be complied with.

He said the MOH health team will be assigned at eight departure stations in the country to monitor the health status of pilgrims before leaving for the holy land. TH will also increase the number of healthcare workers, especially public health teams to be stationed at three main locations in Jeddah, Madinah and Makkah.

“Previously, during the haj season, we have 260 medical staff from various categories including specialist doctors, nurses and pharmacists, but due to Covid-19, we need to add at least 30 more personnel to manage the pilgrims’ health and safety,” ​​he said.

He added that this also takes into account the isolation facilities in hotels and other accommodation, the provision of medical equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as medicines.