08 April 2020
1. A total of 211 students from the Al-Azhar University have safely returned home. In a joint effort between the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), they boarded the specially arranged chartered flight that arrived on 8 April at 1.55 a.m. local time.
2. Classes at the university have been suspended since mid-March to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and students have largely remained in their place of residence, following some online learning courses. Through our Cairo-based student liaison officer, Muis has been in regular contact with students to provide relevant advisories and personal items such as face masks and hand sanitisers along with facilitating the return flight. In addition, Muis has set aside some Zakat funds to help students and parents off-set ticket prices amid this challenging period.
3. Deputy Chief Executive of Muis Dr Albakri Ahmad, who leads Muis in this operation said:
“We have been in constant touch with our Singaporean students and rendering appropriate assistance. Through this combined effort, we are glad that they are now safely back in Singapore and urge them to adhere strictly to the Stay-Home Notices, at the same time closely monitor their health. Muis will follow-up with Al-Azhar University to ensure the continuity of their studies and flexible learning arrangements, as we look to support our students in their learning and progression as well as working towards helping them throughout their course of study.”
4. As part of ongoing efforts to ring fence the risk of community transmission, all returnees have submitted their health declaration via SG Arrival Card e-service prior to immigration clearance and will serve the mandatory 14-day self-isolation at dedicated Stay-Home Notice facilities. Muis will continue to monitor the global situation and work closely with MFA to safeguard the well-being of Singaporean students studying in foreign Islamic universities.
5. Muis calls on students who are currently still overseas to take all necessary precautions, step-up personal hygiene and heed the advise of local authorities. We highly encourage students to follow developments on COVID-19 from official sources and e-Register themselves at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg at the earliest opportunity to enable ease of contact should the need arise.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA