Saudi Arabia: No Haj visas for elderly, sick people to prevent coronavirus infection


RIYADH, July 13 — The elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases will not be issued Haj visas this year to prevent the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry was quoted by Arab news as saying on Saturday.
The restrictions will be applicable to the forthcoming Haj in October and the subsequent Umrah seasons, Health Ministry spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani said, adding that Saudi missions abroad will follow the instructions.
Chronic diseases include diabetes and other illnesses involving the heart, the kidneys and the respiratory system. Others excluded are patients with immune deficiencies and terminal malignant diseases, as well as pregnant women, said the spokesman.
The rule does not stipulate an age limit but says the elderly, who are feeble and medically unfit to travel, will not be considered for pilgrimage visas.
The MERS-CoV has affected 66 people in Saudi Arabia, killing 38 since last September.[db:内容2]