Via Bernama: Tabung Haji Assures Pilgrims Not To Worry About MERS-CoV. Excerpt:
Malaysian pilgrims need not have to worry about the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection as it does not occur in Makkah and Medina, said Southeast Asia Muassasah chairman Tan Sri Sheikh Zuhair A. Hamed Sadayu.
He said the Saudi Arabian government had taken various measures to contain the outbreak with the latest cases reported outside both holy cities in May.
"However, Malaysian pilgrims should not visit animal and date farms, and abattoirs during the sacrificial animal slaughters," he told reporters through an interpreter here today.
The MERS-CoV, a respiratory illness caused by coronavirus, has claimed over 168 lives since September 2012.
Earlier, Sheikh Zuhair held a meeting with Lembaga Tabung Haji led by its chairman, Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Rahim, on haj preparations. Present was Tabung Haji CEO Tan Sri Ismee Ismail.
Abdul Azeez said pilgrims were encouraged to wear surgical masks and would be provided specific vaccinations while acute asthma patients would be treated before departing for the Holy Land to brace for MERS-CoV.
"Mers-CoV virus can be contracted by those suffering from asthma due to the warm weather during the pilgrimage with temperature expected to exceed 45 degrees Celsius. The pilgrims are advised to bring medications to prevent them from getting a cough or an asthmatic bout," he said.
He said Tabung Haji would set up three medical centres - two in Makkah and one in Medina - manned by 255 medical personnel, including doctors during the pilgrimage.
"Pilgrims suffering from severe cough and asthma will be placed in separate wards to prevent them from infecting other pilgrims," he said, adding that Tabung Haji would also provide surgical masks to pilgrims.
A total of 22,320 Malaysian pilgrims will be performing the haj this year with the first flight scheduled for Aug 27.