Ebola: Saudi Arabia won’t ban Nigerian pilgrims – Official

Grand Kaaba, a building at the center of Islam's most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram. PICTURE CREDIT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba

Saudi Arabia on Monday in Riyadh said that the smaller Ebola outbreak in Nigeria was less worrying and did not require barring pilgrims for the forthcoming 2014 hajj.

Saudi Arabia said in April that it would not issue visas for the 2014 hajj to pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea due to the Ebola outbreak in those countries

Mohammed Al-Khasheem, Deputy Health Minister for Planning and Development, said there was no need to worry about Nigerians coming on pilgrimage.

“We have not stopped issuing hajj visas to Nigerians and we know that about 70,000 pilgrims come from the African country every year,” he said.

Al-Khasheem said WHO knew the situation in Mina and Arafat during the hajj season and there was no need to worry about a few Ebola cases that have occurred in Nigeria.

He said Saudi Arabia government had taken measures to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the Kingdom during the hajj season.

Al-Khasheem said early preparations for the annual pilgrimage had been made and that the ministry’s department for preventive medicine was in constant contact with the WHO on the latest developments on Ebola and other infectious diseases.

(Reuters/NAN)


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