Health experts from Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK, a national Hajj/Umrah specific organization working for the welfare and well being of pilgrims have issued a last minute warning to Hajj pilgrims from around the world to safeguard their health against the risk of communicable diseases such as Coronavirus and Meningitis.

The lethal infectious disease Coronavirus has emerged this year as a great threat to pilgrims and has already claimed over 47 lives in Saudi Arabia alone.

These lethal infectious diseases can be transmitted through direct person-to-person contact with droplets of nasal or throat secretions of infected individuals. Close and prolonged contact (e.g. sneezing and coughing on someone or sharing an affected person’s used utensil) facilitates the spread of infection. The Hajj pilgrims have always been vulnerable and at high risk due to crowded conditions at ceremonies, accommodation sites and on public transport.

The health experts also reminded the pilgrims suffering from Diabetes and other chronic diseases with low body immune system about the high risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) due to the extremely excessive physical activities being undertaken amongst a large crowded environment. They need to protect themselves from the sun, dehydration; exhaustion, foot problems, respiratory and bronchial illness and they should wear special socks to avoid feet injuries and frictions. Hajj Pilgrims on medication should take an adequate supply of medicines with them, accompanied by their doctor’s note describing the medicine and their medical history.

Pilgrims are warned that some barbers around the Holy places pose a risk of spreading diseases, such as Hepatitis and other blood borne pathogens by using the same razors repeatedly. The health experts urged that Pilgrims must ensure that barbers use disposable razors to shave.

Hajj pilgrims are reminded to use clean tissues to cover their mouth and nose when they cough and sneeze and bin the tissues after use and also wash their hands with soap and hot water and this good hygiene practice should also be implemented while they are performing the pilgrimage.

“Take the Coronavirus/Meningitis threat seriously and if you develop a significant acute respiratory illness with fever, cough and flu like symptoms seek medical assistance without any delay. ‘Be safe than sorry’ said the Health Experts in their joint statement.