PHE and NaTHNac advice to pilgrims

Posted by Ady on September 11th, 2019

Public Health England (PHE) and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) intensely impulse the pilgrims for Hajj and Umrah to make clear with all the latest health and travel advice for such obligations. The major purpose of advice is to control the epidemic diseases which possibly spread among the pilgrims in one confined area during the huge crowd of pilgrimages like Hajj or Umrah. And for that purpose, there are different vaccinations have been introduced which check the threat of numerous infections among the pilgrims.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Ministry of Health has recommended in reaction to international epidemics of disease for the safety of pilgrims particularly the elderly people who are the victim of chronic diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, nervous system disorders, and diabetes; immune-deficient patients like genetic and acquired; pregnant women and children.

The World Health Organization (WHO) did not advise the travel restraints to KSA regarding the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The reason behind not advised is that overall the risk of UK pilgrims traveling for Hajj or Umrah contracting the virus remains low.

Professor Nick Phin the head of respiratory diseases at PHE stated:

It is advised to all travelers to the Middle East, particularly those with underlying or chronic medical conditions must avoid interaction with camels and camel products, and to training good hand and breathing hygiene to reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses. Because with growing evidence is showing the role of camels in transmitting MERS-CoV to humans.

Pilgrims with flu-like symptoms including fever and cough, or lack of breath within 14 days of being in the Middle East, should make sure the contact and inform their GP without delay of their travel before returning to pilgrimages.

Pilgrims from should also keep in knowledge that visas will not be issued to the candidates who have traveled or lived in Ebola-affected due to the Ebola outbreak until they get Ebola screening card as they could not enter KSA without Ebola screening card. Thus, to perform either major or minor pilgrimage such as Hajj or Umrah all visitors to the KSA will be required to complete an Ebola screening card before entering the Kingdom.

Furthermore, the Public Health Emergency of International Concern and WHO both have declared the additional vaccination of polio requirements for arrivals in KSA from particular countries.
Dr. Dipti Patel, joint director of NaTHNaC stated that our well-run health data sheet for pilgrims includes information on health regulations, vaccine requirements, recommendations and general health advice for those planning to travel for the Hajj and Umrah. So, pilgrims must follow our precise direction about staying safe and healthy before traveling.

Dr. Brian McCloskey, director of global health at PHE said that since Hajj is the major annual worldwide congregation, with more than two million Muslims traveling from all corner of the world including thousands from the UK, so a large population in one confined area has generally increased the risk of infectious disease outbreaks. That’s why it is important to get the appropriate vaccinations and to get travel advice from pilgrim’s GP or travel health clinic.

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