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2019 Hajj: NAHCON issues travel advisory against MERS-Cov disease

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has issued a travel advisory in relation to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus disease (MERS-Cov).
NAHCON’s Head of Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, in a release issued on Tuesday said MERS is a deadly airborne viral infection with no known vaccine or definite medication.
Usara said the pilgrims had been advised to add their personal safety measures in protecting themselves sequel to a World Health Organization’s recent disclosure in Geneva that 14 cases of the viral infection had been recorded.
She said one of the ways of protecting themselves is by always covering their noses and mouths with surgical masks, especially where there are large congregations of people.
She said proper hygiene must be observed all the time, particularly proper and constant washing of the hands with soap, adding that constant use of hand sanitizers is recommended.
She added that doorknobs and other frequently used surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at all times.
Usara, who advised the pilgrims to avoid touching their eyes, noses and mouths with unwashed hands, warned them to avoid coming in contact with animals, camels specifically.
Pilgrims, she said, had been advised not to use personal utensils of infected persons or directly take care of such persons whilst one has no medical expertise because the disease is normally passed through close contact with affected persons or animals.
She further cautioned the pilgrims not to eat half cooked meat, especially camel meat, nor drink unpasteurised/untreated/unheated milk or use camel urine for any reason as some individuals do.
The NAHCON’s spokesperson also advised them to immediately report any unusual fever accompanied with cough, shortness of breath and pneumonia to the nearest health facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
She renewed the assurance that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had made adequate provision for medical care of pilgrims from all over the world during the season.
She said Nigerian medical personnel and drugs are available 24 hours throughout the period of the 2019 Hajj operation in the interest of Nigerian pilgrims.

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