Home > Pestilence, Radical Islam > Fear: Saudi Authorities Terrified Of New MERS Coronavirus, Restricts Visas For Hajj Pilgrimage To Mecca

Fear: Saudi Authorities Terrified Of New MERS Coronavirus, Restricts Visas For Hajj Pilgrimage To Mecca


AsiaNews – “Saudi health authorities have decided to restrict the number of visas issued for hajj and umrah pilgrimages in 2013 in order to prevent the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a cousin of SARS. So far, the virus has killed 45 people (38 of them in the Islamic Kingdom).

The General Health Directorate (DGS), which runs the Health Ministry, issued a circular to this effect. In a statement posted on its website on Saturday, the Saudi health ministry urged people in certain categories not to perform hajj.

‘Elderly persons, pregnant women, children and people affected by chronic diseases, notably people with cardiac, diabetic or respiratory disease, kidney or immune-system deficiencies, will be unable to obtain a visa this year,’ the circular said.

However, the statement was unclear as to how restrictions would be implemented or what the age limits would be.

MERS-CoV is related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a virus in the coronavirus family that caused a pneumonia-like outbreak in Asia in 2003.

The World Health Organisation has not recommended any MERS-CoV-related travel restrictions, but noted that countries should monitor unusual respiratory infection patterns.

This and the recent outbreak on its territory have prompted Saudi Arabia to restrict hajj.

The latter is the fifth pillar of Islam. Making the great pilgrimage to Makkah is one of the duties every able-bodied Muslim should perform at least once in his or her lifetime if they can afford it.” Read more.

Flashback: Tunisian Man Visiting Saudi Arabia Dies From New Coronavirus, Health Experts Worry Annual Hajj Could Lead To Global Outbreak – “A 66-year-old Tunisian man has died from the new coronavirus following a visit to Saudi Arabia and two of his adult children were infected with it, the Tunisian Health Ministry reported. His sons were treated and have since recovered but the rest of the family remains under medical observation, the ministry said in a statement Monday. The World Health Organization confirmed the cases of the children, but said one of them was a daughter who was with her father for part of the trip to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. There was no immediate way to reconcile the differing reports. The cases are the first for Tunisia and indicate that the virus is slowly trickling out of Saudi Arabia, where more than 30 coronavirus cases have been reported.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence, Radical Islam
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