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Hajj pilgrims urged to check advice on coronavirus

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People planning to travel to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage are being reminded to check the latest health advice regarding on-going cases of respiratory illness caused by the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Dr Dipti Patel, joint director at National Travel Health Network and Centre, said: “The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health has advised vulnerable people and children who may have been planning to travel to the Middle East to perform the Hajj to postpone their pilgrimage for their own health and safety.”

“Other people should continue with their plans but follow the specific guidance on the Hajj and other general advice about staying safe and healthy when travelling, including practising good personal hygiene,” he said.

Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global health at Public Health England, added: “Hajj, the annual mass gathering of over three million Muslims from all over the world, presents challenges every year, but particularly this year as we are continuing to receive reports of cases of MERS in the region.”

Pilgrims are being advised to visit the NaTHNaC website for the latest advice.

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