Updated on 22 September 2014
MOH has declined visas to Ebola afflicted nations
Singapore: Ahead of the Hajj pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia continues to registers new cases of MERS, though few in number.
Despite Saudi officials being confident about MERS and Hajj preparations, global experts have expressed concern that the huge influx of Muslims for Hajj may further spread the virus.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said, "Being a virus transmissible from human to human is a big concern for Hajj. We have overcrowding and this is an excellent medium for a respiratory infection to spread."
The virus is transmitted through humans in close contact, and a large number of the people have contracted MERS in hospitals. Hence, experts caution that if proper precautions were not followed, huge crowd in public settings may result in an infectious disease outbreak.
With Ebola virus too causing concerns, the Hajj Ministry have declined visas to some West African countries. The MOH also provides guidelines reinforcing hygiene and cough etiquette to prevent outbreaks.
Reports suggest that much tighter infection controls have been implemented in Saudi hospitals, and the government has set up a dedicated control center in Jeddah to coordinate responses to new cases.