Saudi Arabia again denies Hajj visas to pilgrims from Ebola-hit countries

Ministry also requested elderly, individuals with chronic diseases, among others to postpone Hajj this season

Web Desk July 06, 2015
Muslim pilgrims wearing protective masks walk towards Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat outside the holy city of Mecca on November 26, 2009. PHOTO: REUTERS

Saudi Arabia has decided not to issue Hajj visas for the citizens of Ebola hit countries such as Guinea and Sierra Leone for second year in a row, Al Eqtisadiya online newspaper reported.

The decision was taken in order to ensure an endemic-free Hajj, the Saudi Ministry of Health explained. The kingdom also urged pilgrims, both domestic and foreign, to take compulsory vaccinations, especially in countries with contagious diseases.

Keeping in view the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) corona virus in Saudi Arabia since 2012, the ministry has requested elderly, pregnant women, HIV patients and children below the age of five to postpone their plans for performing Hajj this season as they are more prone to catch contagious diseases.

Read: Ebola vaccine passes early safety test

So far, a total of 1,045 MERS corona cases have been reported in the kingdom, including 460 deaths.

To prevent the spread of MERS virus, the ministry has urged pilgrims to follow certain preventative measures, especially personnel hygiene, keeping their distance from camels and avoid consuming their uncooked milk or meat.

Further, the ministry highlighted that it is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to monitor the spread of contiguous diseases worldwide to issue special health vaccination guidelines for countries for a safe Hajj season.

The article originally appeared on Xinhua News

Facebook Conversations