JOHOR BARU: Haj pilgrims headed to Saudi Arabia should take extra precaution against Covid-19, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad.

“They have to be extra careful, especially if they want to have a thanksgiving ceremony (majlis kesyukuran) before their flight.

“They can have or attend the ceremony, but they must observe the SOP (standard operating procedure) as these ceremonies usually involve crowds,” he said after attending the closing ceremony of a sports tournament involving the country’s religious schools here, yesterday.

He said this when asked to comment on the three pilgrims from the first group who missed their flight on Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19.

Idris said they contracted Covid-19 after taking part in thanksgiving ceremonies.

“The three pilgrims who tested positive may still be able to perform the haj as the last flight to Saudi Arabia is in early July.

“Their quarantine would have ended by then and if they test negative, they can still fly,” he said.

Asked if pilgrims who missed their flight due to Covid-19 would be given priority to perform their haj next year, he said it would be decided by Lembaga Tabung Haji.

It was earlier reported that the three pilgrims who tested positive for Covid-19 were supposed to join the first batch of 295 people departing for the Holy Land.

On Saturday, Tabung Haji haj executive director Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman said the pilgrims had informed the board earlier and they were advised to undergo proper quarantine.

He added that they could still fly to Saudi Arabia if their RT-PCR results was negative and with Health Ministry advice.