The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)’s Ministry of Health has issued health regulatory guidelines for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and other travelers into the Kingdom for the 1440 Hajj season.
The spokesperson of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Fatima Sanda Usara, said in a statement released on Wednesday that based on World Health Organization’s (WHO) report of May 2019, citizens from countries exposed to Yellow Fever, Poliomyelitis, Dengue fever, and Zika virus must be vaccinated against such and are required to present attestation of the said vaccination at the point of arrival into the Kingdom.
Usara said among various advisory guidelines issued was the preference for vaccination against seasonal influenza to be administered 10 days before arriving in Saudi Arabia.
She said with respect to the commonly experienced infection of upper respiratory system, health authorities in Saudi Arabia warned travellers against contact with animals especially camels, avoiding direct contact with symptomatic persons and shunning untreated milk as well as half cooked meat.
The statement said the health authorities also encourage observation of general hygiene especially constant washing of the hands before and after food and after toilet usage, observing crowd and sneezing etiquettes are highly recommended too.
She added that transportation of food items into the Kingdom had been prohibited except for canned foods in small quantities for personal consumption to eliminate chances of spreading water and food-borne diseases.
“These too must be transparently packaged. Moreover, pilgrims are advised not to eat foods cooked and kept for long without being refrigerated.
They are advised to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption and drink lots of water to prevent heat stroke.
“Also, it is advised to stay away from direct sunrays by using umbrellas and remaining under shades.
“The Saudi Ministry of Health reassures pilgrims and other travellers that in case of a disease outbreak or any other health emergency, the Kingdom’s authorities, in collaboration with W.H.O, will take additional measures to contain it.
“Therefore, each participating country’s medical mission is advised to isolate a room where ambiguous infectious disease carriers will be secluded and compulsorily reported to the Saudi authorities. Other infectious diseases are to be reported as well.
“Besides, in collaboration with FAAN (Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria), FMH has placed medical health warning devices in strategic locations in the country’s international airports to alert health workers on unusual medical symptoms,” the statement also read.
Meanwhile, NAHCON’s Command and Control Centre said today that 9,731 Nigerian pilgrims from Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Kogi, Sokoto, and Lagos states had been transported to Saudi Arabia since the airlift began on July 10.