Health experts from the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH), a National Hajj/Umrah specific organisation, have expressed their grave concern regarding the rapid spread of Coronavirus, which has already claimed a substantial number of innocent human lives around the world, including 139 lives in Saudi Arabia. Fears of further deaths due to the deadly and lethal virus have grown in anticipation of the fast approaching Hajj, when about three million pilgrims are expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia from all over the world.
Health experts warn that the Coronavirus threat should be taken seriously as pilgrims are at a high risk of contracting the deadly and lethal virus, and other infectious diseases, due to their close proximity with millions of people from around the world during the pilgrimage. Prolonged contact with infected individuals within confined space facilitates the spread of infectious diseases, which are transmitted through direct person-to-person contact via droplets of nasal or throat secretions of infected individuals.
Health experts strongly urge all the relevant countries that vulnerable Hajj/Umrah pilgrims must not be deprived of vital life-saving information about the preventive measures and how they should safeguard their health and wellbeing. All efforts should be made to implement the directives issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in which member countries are required to raise the awareness amongst the prospective pilgrims of the risks of contracting the deadly and lethal Coronavirus, and the measures they should take to protect themselves. This awareness is extremely important not only to protect the pilgrims, but also to eliminate the risk of the spread of this deadly infectious Coronavirus amongst the community upon the return of these pilgrims from Saudi Arabia.
The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH) also strongly supported the advice from Saudi health authorities to the prospective pilgrims with chronic health conditions, such as heart, kidney, respiratory diseases and diabetes, as well as infants, pregnant women and those with immunity deficiency, to postpone their plan or journey for Hajj this year for their own safety as well as to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.