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Over 100 Umrah Participants Are Stranded At KLIA Due To COVID-19 Concerns

Meanwhile, at least 800 Malaysian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are unable to return home.

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today & Learn Religions

Saudi Arabia recently decided to suspend the entry of foreign nationals in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19

Al Jazeera reported that the move was announced on Thursday, 27 February, as COVID-19 fears grow.

The decision by the Saudi government prevents foreigners from reaching the holy city of Mecca and Medina, thus halting Umrah practices.

As of today, 28 February, over 100 umrah participants are stranded at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)

Image via Astro Awani

The pilgrims stranded in KLIA consists of Malaysian citizens along with Indonesian nationals.

57-year-old Rohani Abdul Rahman told The Star, "It took us six months to make our preparations. We did not expect the trip to be cancelled at the eleventh hour. It is sad, but we accept it."

Meanwhile, New Straits Times reported that at least 800 Malaysian pilgrims in Jeddah and Medina are unable to return home.

Azmir Mohamad, a Malaysian pilgrim currently in Medina said, "No official statement was issued by the airline company, and we have no choice but to seek information from other sources, including airline staff."

Association of Umrah and Haj Travel Agents (PAPUH) chairman said that over 15,000 Malaysians would be affected by this travel restriction

An estimated 15,000 Malaysians are scheduled to perform the Umrah pilgrimage at Mecca and Medina within next month.

Datuk Seri Razali Mohd Sham told Berita Harian that all of the participants have paid for their Umrah packages in full but they will receive compensation through their insurance. When asked about the current situation in KLIA, he said that there is nothing they could do besides follow orders.

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