MECCA, Sept 18, 2014:
No contagious diseases or quarantine cases have been reported among the over 600,000 Haj pilgrims now in the Holy Land, according to a report on the www.arabnews.com portal.
The report quoted Saudi Arabian acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih as saying that the ministry’s hospitals and other medical facilities in Mecca and other holy sites had been readied to extend advanced health and first-aid services to pilgrims.
Fakeih was also quoting as saying that the Health Ministry had mobilised all its human and material resources to provide them the best possible services.
Expressing optimism that this Haj season would be free from infectious diseases, Fakeih also commended the ongoing coordination between the various government departments to serve the pilgrims as efficiently as possible.
Saudi Arabia has banned pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three main Ebola-hit African countries, to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the kingdom during the Haj season.
Saudi Gazette, in its online news portal www.saudigazette.com.sa, reported that the advisor to the Health Minister, Dr Abdulaziz Al-Saeed, said the ministry had agreed with the Nigerian authorities to check pilgrims for the Ebola virus before they were allowed to board the plane.
He said that though 76,000 Nigerian pilgrims were coming from Ebola-free areas, they would be thoroughly checked for the deadly virus upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Gazettealso quoted the World Health Organisation representative in Saudi Arabia, Dr Hassan Al-Bishri, as saying that Ebola did not pose any serious threat to the pilgrims because it existed mainly in the three West African countries from where people had been barred from performing the haj.
“The virus does not spread by air, food or transport, but by excretions,” he said.
Meanwhile, two more Tabung Haji chartered flights with 728 pilgrims are scheduled to arrive here today, thus raising the number of Malaysian Haj pilgrims in the Holy Land to 16,703.