The Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has issued a regulatory guideline for intending pilgrims coming in from various countries exposed to some communicable diseases, saying that such pilgrims must present an attestation of vaccination upon arrival into the Kingdom.
The ministry, in a statement, said the guideline is in line with the World Health Organization’s, WHO’s report of May 2019, which states that citizens from countries exposed to diseases such as YELLOW FEVER and POLIOMYELITIS must be disinfected before traveling into the Kingdom.
According to the statement, apart from disinfection of transport carriages, travellers exiting countries exposed to DENGUE FEVER and ZIKA VIRUS are mandated to avoid exposure to mosquitoes prior to their journey to Saudi Arabia.
“Various advisory guidelines were also issued; among them is the preference for vaccination against SEASONAL INFLUENZA to be administered 10 days before arriving in Saudi Arabia.
“With respect to the commonly experienced INFECTION OF UPPER RESPIRATORY SYSTEM, health authorities in Saudi Arabia warned travellers against contact with animals especially camels, avoiding direct contact with symptomatic persons and shunning untreated milk as well as half cooked meat,” the statement added.
The ministry, therefore, advised intending pilgrims to observe general hygiene especially constant washing of the hands before and after food and after toilet usage.
“Observing crowd and sneezing etiquettes are highly recommended too,” the statement added.
“Consequently, to eliminate chances of spreading water and food-borne diseases, transportation of food items into the Kingdom is prohibited except for canned foods in small quantities for personal consumption. These too must be transparently packaged.
“Moreover, pilgrims are advised not to eat foods cooked and kept for long without being refrigerated.
“They are advised to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption and drink lots of water to prevent heatstroke. Also, it is advised to stay away from direct sunrays by using umbrellas and remaining under shades,” the statement stressed.
Meanwhile, in compliance with the guideline, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, advised that only medically fit persons should register for the Hajj exercise.
The NAHCON’s head of public affairs, Fatima Sanda-Usara, stated that most of the guidelines are in conformity with those of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, another member of the WHO.
According to Mrs Sanda-Usara, persons with terminal illnesses who insist on travelling for Hajj are advised to carry along medical items relevant to their condition, plus adequate drugs in original packets to be complemented by prescription letters by medical doctors in government hospitals.