Saudi Arabia Saturday recommended those at a high risk of catching
swine flu, like children, pregnant women and people suffering from
chronic ailments, to avoid Haj pilgrimage and help curb the spread
of the pandemic.
"Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
recommends that elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic
diseases and children should postpone the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages
this year for their own safety," the advisory from Saudi Arabia
The country has written to several swine flu-affected
countries, including India.
"The Saudi government has advised that pilgrims
planning to attend the Hajj must be vaccinated against seasonal flu
at least two weeks before travelling to the holy places," the
"Passengers are currently screened on arrival at all
ports of entry into Saudi Arabia. If a pilgrim is suspected to have
influenza A H1N1, he/she will be temporarily quarantined. If (you)
test positive, you will be admitted to hospital for isolation," the
According to India's health ministry, these pilgrims
would be medically examined for the symptoms of influenza A (H1N1)
at the point of embarkation, that is at the place where booking of
pilgrims takes place in their respective states.
"They will be issued an H1N1 symptom-free certificate
in prescribed proforma. Pilgrims need to contact the local health
authority or the State Haj Committee for further information," a
ministry official said here Saturday.
The official said a provision would made by the state
governments at their airports to issue such certificates to outgoing
The official also suggested pilgrims to consult the
medical officer in the contingent. "If need be, seek immediate
advice from the nearest Saudi medical facility. Anyone who contracts
pandemic flu while in Saudi Arabia will be given access free of
charge to medication and treatment," the official added.