NO HAJ VISAS FOR ELDERLY AND SICK TO PREVENT MERS-CORONAVIRUS

16 Jul 2013 07:54
RIYADH, July 13 (Bernama) -- Elderly people and those suffering from chronic diseases will not be issued Haj visas this year to prevent the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), said Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry. Ministry spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani said the restrictions will be applicable to the forthcoming Haj in October and subsequent Umrah seasons, Xinhua news agency reported citing local media on Saturday. Saudi missions abroad will follow similar instructions, said the spokesman. Chronic diseases include diabetes and other illnesses involving the heart, kidneys and respiratory system. The rule does not stipulate an age limit but elderly people who are medically unfit to travel will not be considered for pilgrimage visas. The MERS-CoV has affected 66 people in Saudi Arabia and claimed 38 lives since last September. --BERNAMA EE