Swine flu fears trigger Hajj ban
PUBLISHED: 19:00 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:54 05 October 2010
by Gemma Collins CHILDREN and the elderly are still banned from joining this year s Hajj pilgrimage because of fears over swine flu. Muslims aged over 65 and under 12 and
CHILDREN and the elderly are still banned from joining this year's Hajj pilgrimage because of fears over swine flu.
Muslims aged over 65 and under 12 and those who are pregnant or have chronic diseases have been excluded from the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the World Health Organisation and the Saudi government have warned.
And those still planning on travelling in less than three months are being told they must have a season flu vaccination which will be checked by the Saudi embassy before they apply for their visa.
Every year more than 25,000 British Muslims join the pilgrimage but health chiefs are banning those most vulnerable to infection over fears the close proximity of millions of people from around the world following peak flu season, could trigger a swine flu outbreak.
There have been around 952 cases of the virus, known as H1N1, in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which stretches from Afghanistan to Morocco and in July a woman reportedly died from the virus after returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
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