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Elderly won’t get Haj visa


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—File Photo.
—File Photo.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will not grant Haj visa this year to the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases.

The Saudi ministry of health said on Saturday that it had taken the decision in order to prevent the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus from spreading.

The virus has so far claimed 38 lives in Saudi Arabia since September.

Haj and Umra visas will not be issued by Saudi missions to the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes and illnesses involving the heart, kidneys and the respiratory system.

Others on the list include patients suffering from immune deficiencies, terminal malignant diseases, pregnant women and children; a spokesman for the ministry was quoted as saying in the local press.

Saudi missions abroad will begin issuing Haj visas at the end of Ramazan.

“The decision will be applicable to the forthcoming Haj and the subsequent Umra seasons,” Arab News said, quoting the health ministry’s spokesman, Khalid Al Mirghalani, as saying.

Mr Mirghalani did not stipulate an age-limit, but said the elderly who were feeble and medically unfit to travel would not be considered for the pilgrimage visa.

In addition to these requirements, Mr Mirghalani said, the ministry had spelt out quarantine regulations. They include a valid certificate of vaccination against meningitis 10 days before the departure of pilgrims for Makkah and Madina, and for polio vaccinations by pilgrims hailing from countries where the disease is prevalent. There was also an optional requirement for vaccination against influenza as a precaution against flu attacks, he added.

He said the ministry was insisting on pilgrims having proper personal hygiene. They should also ensure hygienic cooking, storing, transporting and serving methods to avoid diarrhoea, vomiting, food poisoning, dysentery, typhoid and cholera.

“Hands should be washed before eating. Disposable shaving kits should be used.”

Wearing masks made of cloth during the performance of Haj rituals will be very useful in preventing respiratory infections such as cold, cough, sore throats and pneumonia, the ministry of health suggested.

The ministry has been focusing on preventing food poisoning.

Pilgrims have been asked not to keep cooked food for more than two hours. People have been advised to wash fruits and vegetables before consumption.

Comments (7) Closed

Guest63 Jul 14, 2013 01:34pm

In my humble reading of the conditions of the Haj " istetaahat " does not only mean financial well being but also Personal Physical well beings too . I had the blessings of Almighty to perform my religious duty and I was surprised to see physically impaired people on this journey , not only laboring very hard to perform the basic motion of the body but also exclaiming and using this physical handicap to affect their fellow travelers and people who were made to support / carry them around . Certainly this divine din , does not mean to make people's life miserable in the very harsh and physically demanding journey . I myself was physically fit from all aspects , Yet at the end of the 3 days , I felt physically drained out though spiritually satisfied , on the last day during the final tawwaf , I could have been killed by the stampede which suddenly happened , if it was not of a stronger Egyptian who extended his hands and pulled me up seconds before I was to be crushed under the feet of rushing people , i wanted to pray inside but was so shaken by the event that i just did not not know what to do except kept walking towards the exit and eventually the call for prayer(the iqqamat ) caught me just outside the main harram and joined the salat on the bare road side line ... My narration is only to underscore the point that , if a physically fit and strong person (like i was then ) could face such a near disaster physically , what chance a frail old man or woman has in those very demanding times 1 so a restriction under what ever pretext , is the welcome sign and I personally adore it

Faroukh Bhandara Jul 14, 2013 03:47pm

This is a good move. Elderly should be redefined as being anyone over 30 so this wasteful religious ritual is curbed. The money saved should be redirected to education. The ban should be made permanent.

Gerry D'Cunha Jul 14, 2013 04:53pm

people think of performing haj only when they are old to wash away their sins and get themself ready to enter heaven peacefully - so why this ban for them at this age?

anwar Jul 14, 2013 08:00pm

@Faroukh Bhandara: If you are a muslim, you are ill-informed about Hajj, You need to learn, start with ordinances about Hajj , mentioned by Allah swt in The Quran. If you are not a muslim, keep your precious comments to your self, By the way, you can save a lot more money, by not smoking, not drinking and not gambling,;;Ever think of that.

good2rely Jul 14, 2013 08:32pm

5 times Namaaz regularily. True Zakaat and khairat.. Only these be allowed.

We are living on no Hajj allowed

good2rely Jul 14, 2013 08:33pm

@Guest63: Any change in you? after hajj?

a Jul 15, 2013 04:08am

@Faroukh Bhandara: Wasteful religious????