KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — The new standard operating procedure (SOP) which makes it mandatory for Malaysian umrah pilgrims to take the Covid-19 vaccine booster is based on a request by the Saudi Arabian government, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad.

“The booster dose is a requirement by the Saudi government for umrah pilgrims. It (Saudi Arabia) has issued a circular, so we have to comply.

“The door to the Holy Land is open from today. So our pilgrims have to follow the conditions set in order to go there,” he told reporters after attending the Usrah Anak Muda programme, organised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) and Radio Zayan, at the Malaysia Tourism Centre here yesterday.

On the latest data on prospective umrah pilgrims who have received booster shots, Idris said his team did not have the figure.

He said the statistics on prospective Malaysian umrah pilgrims who have received booster doses were with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture because the umrah SOP was under the ministry’s purview. — Bernama