Mers caution given to haj goers

Muslims going on the haj this year are urged to take precautions in the light of the health situation in Saudi Arabia.

"Pilgrims should be vigilant, take care of their health, observe good hygiene and consult the doctor immediately if they are not well," said the head of the Singapore delegation, Mr Raja Mohamad Maiden.

Speaking at a pre-departure briefing held yesterday at the Singapore Expo, he said that these precautions are necessary in the light of the outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).

Mr Maiden also said that this year's 680 pilgrims should observe the Health Ministry's travel advisory.

This includes avoiding people suffering from acute respiratory infections, as well as not visiting camel farms.

The pilgrims will be accompanied by a team of medical and administrative personnel, including four doctors and 10 nurses.

Two haj officers from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and four assistant pilgrim officers will also be part of the team.

The first flight to Saudi Arabia will leave in two weeks, on Sept 10, while the last flight will depart on Sept 29.

Mr Maiden added: "We hope that the Saudi authorities will allocate more places, above the official quota, to enable more Singaporeans to perform the haj in the coming years."

Linette Lai