The initiative is welcomed by health experts from the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH), a national Hajj / Umrah-specific organisation, working for the welfare and wellbeing of pilgrims.
Health experts from ABH have expressed their grave concern about this deadly and lethal virus which has raised alarm since it emerged in Saudi Arabia last year. So far 51 cases have been detected worldwide and 30 deaths have occurred, out of which 39 cases and 25 deaths are from Saudi Arabia. This virus has spread to countries such as Italy, Germany, France, Jordan and United Kingdom as well.
Health experts from ABH also strongly support the call from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that Coronavirus is a threat to the entire world and countries must respond to this menace, which WHO director generals have described as “one of the most lethal influenza viruses we have seen so far.”
After the tragic deaths of 2 people from Birmingham, UK, due to Coronavirus, ABH expresses its grave concern about welfare and safety of over 125,000 British pilgrims who travel to Saudi Arabia every year to perform pilgrimage and some 30,000 British nationals who are living and working in Saudi Arabia.
ABH has issued a strong warning to all prospective pilgrims and travellers to Saudi Arabia that it is extremely vital that they must take every precaution to safeguard their health and safety.
The following preventive measures can be taken to “minimize the risk of Coronavirus and other infectious diseases, specifically while they are amongst the daunting crowd of millions of people around them”, said health experts from ABH.
• In crowded places, infections are bound to spread. Remember, germs are spread by droplets from our mouth as we speak or when we cough especially if phlegm is present, or by direct contact such as by sharing of unwashed utensils.
• People with low body immune system are vulnerable to contagious diseases.
• Try to maintain high standards of personal and surroundings cleanliness to minimize the spread of diseases.
• Avoid crowds and dust wherever possible. Acute upper respiratory infection and epidemics of flu-like illnesses are also very common. Vast majority of these are viral. Seek medical advice if not sure.
• Avoid as much as possible contact with infected people.
• Wash hands well and continuously with water and soap or with other disinfectants used for hand washing, especially after coughing or sneezing.
• Use tissues when coughing or sneezing and cover mouth and nose.
• Try as much as possible to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth by hand, because it can transmit the virus after touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.
• Wear masks in overcrowded places.
• Adopt hygienic and healthy practises such as balanced diet, physical activity, and taking enough sleep.
ABH also strongly supports the requirement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the countries sending pilgrims should implement wide-scale health education programs towards the prevention of infectious diseases and ensuring that travellers must get recommended inoculation before travelling.