Via The National: Emirati pilgrims not swayed by Mers cases in Saudi and will travel for the Haj. Ecxerpt:
ABU DHABI // Pilgrims have dismissed concerns about Mers in Saudi Arabia and are determined to travel there for the Haj.
The number of cases of the potentially fatal virus has increased in recent months – particularly in Saudi Arabia, where millions will gather in Mecca after Ramadan – but travel agents say they do not expect a drop in their customer numbers.
“We are not afraid. We have decided we will go to Mecca,” said Emirati Adil Al Awadi, from Ras Al Khaimah.
“I have been listening about it [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome] in the media but I have not found anyone who has cancelled a trip due to this coronavirus. All devout will travel to Mecca as usual to perform the Haj and nothing can stop them,” Mr Al Awadi said. “Precautions must be taken but we shouldn’t stop travelling or leave the place because of some disease.”
Dr Hamad Al Ameri, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi, agreed. “Muslims who believe in destiny and Allah would not feel afraid. Those who are determined to travel, will travel,” he said.
Mers coronavirus was first identified in 2012 and the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of infection stands at 261, including 93 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.
But Saudi Arabia said on Friday the number of Mers deaths in the kingdom had risen to 107.
The UAE Ministry of Health has ruled out the prospect of any travel ban to Saudi Arabia for the Haj.