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Meningitis jab made mandatory for Umrah pilgrims

DOHA, March 20, 2015

Vaccination against meningitis and other infectious diseases has been made mandatory for Umrah pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia, according to a report.

The health requirements issued by Saudi Arabia for Haj and Umrah pilgrims actually included vaccination against meningococcal meningitis but this rule was not strictly implemented in the case of Umrah, said the Peninsula report.

However, the authorities are not allowing in Umrah pilgrims from other countries who have not taken the required vaccination before their departure to the holy lands, tour organisers in Qatar were quoted as saying.

The new rule follows a recent ban imposed by Saudi Arabian authorities on the entry of foreigners to the country in private vehicles for the purpose of performing Umrah.

"Earlier vaccination was mandatory only for Haj pilgrims. Our Umrah group was all set for departure when we came to know about the new rule. We had to rush to get all of them vaccinated in the last moment so that they will not be turned away at the Saudi border," a representative of a community organisation, was quoted as saying.

T number of people travelling from Qatar for Umrah has dropped significantly after a recent decision by the Ministry of Interior banning visitors from going for Umrah, said the report.

The Saudi Arabian decision banning foreigners from going for Umrah in private cars is expected to further reduce the number of pilgrims, according to industry sources.

They believe this decision is intended to reduce the traffic congestion at the holy premises, with massive construction works going on in the area, it added.




Tags: Saudi | Umrah | Disease | Vaccination | Meningitis | Pilgrim | Infectious |

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