Health experts from the Association of British Hujjaj (UK) ABH, a national charity, express their grave concern about the safety and well being of over 25,000 prospective British Hajj pilgrims who will travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj pilgrimage in October. Around 30,000 British nationals are also living and working in Saudi Arabia. Health experts have issued a strong warning to the travellers that they must take the threat of Coronavirus seriously and take all necessary precautionary measures to safeguard their and their loved ones health.
Health experts are also extremely concerned that the relevant health authorities in UK are not taking their professional responsibilities seriously, despite the clear guidelines from WHO and requirements from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They did not take any initiative so far to help and protect the deprived, vulnerable, disadvantaged pilgrims and traveller specifically from hard to reach community groups. The authorities must have learnt the lesson from the previous outbreak of Meningitis amongst British Hajj pilgrims where over 20 British pilgrims had lost their lives tragically in the UK in the recent past and recent tragic death of 3 victims of Coronavirus. Any future tragic loss of human lives in such circumstances may have a strong reaction from the community and legal implications.
British travellers to Saudi Arabia are being subjected to high risk due to lack of awareness about health risks and preventive measures. Consequently, it will Increase the risk of the spread of avoidable infectious diseases including Coronavirus in the community by these returning travellers.
To prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Saudi authorities has taken extreme steps and strongly recommend postponing the Hajj pilgrimage this year for those pilgrims who are elderly or have chronic health conditions such as heart, kidney, respiratory diseases and diabetes, infants, pregnant women and those with immunity deficiency will not be granted a visa to perform their pilgrimage for their own safety.
Saudi authorities also strongly urge prospective pilgrims to take preventive measures by wearing masks and practicing basic personal hygiene such as using tissues when coughing or sneezing and getting the appropriate vaccines before travelling to Makkah. A valid certificate of vaccination against meningitis is also required along with an optional vaccination against influenza as a precaution against flu attacks is also stressed.