World Notes: Swine flu precautions for the Hajj pilgrimage

Kaaba in Grand Mosque, Mecca

Kaaba in Grand Mosque, Mecca

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announced that the kingdom will not ban anyone considered at high risk for swine flu from the Hajj pilgrimage, which will peak during the 25-29 November timeframe. The Hajj pilgrimage is required of all able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, and it attracts an estimated 2-3 million people annually from across the globe. Saudi officials and the WHO have advised pilgrims to get flu vaccination shots at least two weeks before travel to Mecca and Medina.

The kingdom recently launched a national swine flu vaccination campaign
and has ordered 11 million doses of swine flu vaccine; local Saudi pilgrims, health workers and officials connected with the pilgrimage are top vaccination priorities. In preparation for the religious event, the kingdom has also set up an emergency operations center and special quarantine hospitals, stockpiled antiviral medications, and has situated thermal screening equipment at entry control points.

Adagio Teas

AFP: Saudis to begin mass flu vaccinations as hajj nears
AP:Saudi says swine flu shots advised for pilgrims
U.S. Department of State Travel Alert: Hajj

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