Saudi pulls out all the stops
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health has refuted reports that 10 pilgrims have died in the Kingdom. He also insists that pilgrims are protected against swine flu, Arab News reports.
November 24, 2009 12:57 by Hamid Al-Sulami
“The number of our health-care and administrative personnel at all key ports was increased. Around 580 staff who are specially trained to identify suspected cases of swine flu, were mobilized at the two major points of entry for the majority of pilgrims, 450 at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and 130 at Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah,” he pointed out. Dr. Al-Mazrou’a said all hospitals and over 140 health-care centers throughout the Kingdom have been provided with the swine flu vaccine to administer to any citizen or resident intending to perform Haj.
He expressed the Kingdom’s hope to have overall control on the health situation during Haj, specifically with regards to any outbreak of swine flu, whilst acknowledging the efforts of other countries to protect pilgrims before they leave.
“For sure, the response of these countries, either by vaccinating their pilgrims prior to departure or preventing at-risk categories from entering Saudi Arabia, or through the cooperation of their respective health missions in isolating suspected cases at their camps until they are handed over to the Ministry of Health, will be of great help to achieving that objective,” he said.