SGPH advises persons to Haji pilgrimage to Mecca to increase hygiene measures

Persons traveling to participate in the Haji pilgrimage to Mecca from October 24-29 in Saudi Arabia next week, Section General Public Health (SGPH), an executive agency falling under Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is recommending an increase in hygiene measures.


The annual Haij is considered as one of the greatest assemblies of humankind. Each year, three million Muslims attend the Haij in Mecca. Of these, 1.8 million non-Saudi Arabians usually come from overseas countries, and 89 per cent or 1.6 million of them arrive by air. Pilgrims come from more than 180 countries worldwide.

The WHO recommends the practice of good hand hygiene and cough etiquette and protective behaviors to further decrease the occurrence of respiratory diseases.

The Minister of Public Health’s ‘Get Checked’ campaign is also in line with the promotion of proper hand and cough hygiene practices.

The following advisory is in connection with a World Health Organization (WHO) communication with respect on 22 September 2012, the United Kingdom informed the WHO of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with travel history to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The case was a previously healthy, 49-year old male Qatari national that presented with symptoms on 3 September with travel history to Saudi Arabia several days prior to onset of illness.

On 7 September he was admitted to an intensive care unit in Qatar. On 11 September, he was transferred to England by air ambulance from Qatar.

The British Health Protection Agency conducted laboratory testing and subsequently confirmed the presence of the novel coronavirus. The tests were compared with a sample virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Medical Centre sample was obtained from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60-year-old Saudi national.

The WHO is working closely with Saudi Arabia to support the country’s health measures for all visitors participating in the Haji pilgrimage to Mecca.

As of 25 September, no additional cases of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure due to infection with a novel coronavirus have been reported to the WHO.

The WHO is continuing investigations into the two confirmed infections identified as a novel coronavirus.