MAKKAH: The Kingdom is keen to provide all facilities necessary for people to perform Haj and Umrah in comfort, security and peace, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif said Thursday.
The crown prince, who is also deputy premier and interior minister, said this in a speech he delivered while chairing a meeting to follow up implementation of security plans for this year’s Umrah season.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has given assurances of an epidemic-free Umrah in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah during this Ramadan.
So far, no epidemic has been recorded among pilgrims, a ministry official said.
On the Health Ministry’s advice, the Foreign Ministry has directed all its overseas missions to issue Umrah visas subject to quarantine conditions.
An integrated plan by the Health Ministry is being implemented in Makkah to ensure pilgrims get the best health services via a network of primary health care centers and facilities manned by well-trained officials.
In addition to the centers, there are seven hospitals and King Abdullah Medical City to serve pilgrims, the official said.
Some of the hospitals operating round-the-clock include King Abdulaziz Hospital, Ajyad Emergency Hospital, Hira General Hospital and Al-Noor Specialist Children and Maternity Hospital.
Vaccination against meningitis is mandatory for all local and foreign pilgrims, and additional vaccination is required for pilgrims from countries where various diseases, such as yellow fever, are endemic, the official said.
Polio vaccinations are compulsory for pilgrims from many African countries, as well as Pakistan, India, Nepal and Afghanistan.
A dose of oral polio medication is compulsory for pilgrims from Uganda, Kenya, Benin, Angola, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.
The official advised pilgrims to take precautions against influenza. The flu vaccine is not mandatory, but is recommended given the present climate and the susceptibility of pilgrims.
He advised that high-risk patients with chronic ailments such as diabetes, hypertension and renal problems take the flu vaccine to help them perform their Haj and Umrah rituals without problems.
Vaccinations against meningitis are valid for three years, he said, adding that pilgrims coming from areas where the illness is widespread can cause an outbreak, particularly amid overcrowding. The vaccine is given to adults and children over 2 years old. It is not given to pregnant women.