MERS coronavirus threatens thousands of Afghan pilgrims
By Ghanizada - Fri Jun 06 2014, 10:35 pm
According to the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs of Afghanistan, around 24,000 Afghans will visit Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage this year.
However, the Afghan pilgrims are concerned regarding the outspread of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus since they have not received any information from the ministry in this regard so far.
In the meantime, Qazir Faiz Mohammad Mukhtar, head of Hajj and Pilgrimage directorate in the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs of Afghanistan said they have taken necessary steps to provide better facilities for Afghan pilgrims and the minister himself has visited Saudi Arabia to meet the Saudi officials in this regard.
Mr. Mukhtar further added that they have not received any information from the ministry of public health regarding the issue of MERS coronavirus and they will take necessary steps for the safety of pilgrims if such information is received from public health ministry and Saudi Arabia.
He said the ministry of public health of Afghanistan should provide information regarding the MERS coronavirus to the pilgrims and provide vaccination.
In the meantime, public health ministry officials are saying that information are provided regarding exceptional cases like MERS coronavirus to pilgrims besides provide vaccination on three different illness including polio, Meningitis and seasonal flu.
But the Afghan pilgrims are saying that they have not received such information from the authorities so far.
MERS is a strain of coronavirus, the same type of virus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome whose symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Gastrointestinal problems, renal failure and pneumonia has also been noted in some patients.