Updated on 24 June 2014
Around one million people are expected to gather for the Haj pilgrimage
Singapore: Even as piligrims traveling for Haj continue to be gripped with fear of MERS, the Israel Ministry of Health has rest assured the citizens about the deadly disease. The ministry stated that potential dissemination of the MERS virus is unlikely in the country and poses little threat. Though there were a handful of suspected MERS cases in Saudi travelers, Israel has not reported any positives so far.
Prof Itamar Grotto, director of public health services at Israel's Health Ministry, told a news report that considering lesser human to human transmission history of the virus, it is less likely that the Haj pilgrims would contract the virus and spread to their fellow citizens.
Mr Abu Iman Abu Liyal, organiser for Israeli Muslim pilgrims said that around 30,000 Israelis and Palestinians are expected to perform the holy month's rituals this year.
Mr Grotto further affirmed that most of MERS cases were seen in people with close proximity to infected patients or animals and not many cases were seen in pilgrims returning from the haj.
Mr Grotto further said that precautionary measures for the haj pilgrimage were duly explained in Arabic to the pilgrims. He added that the importance of hygiene, avoiding contact with animals were emphasized.
Mr Grotto further urged the hajjis who return from the pilgrimage to immediately report MERS like symptoms if any. He added that the Israeli health ministry was prepared to tackle an outbreak if it occurred.