Philippines: DOH advises against Filipino Muslims travel to Hajj due to MERS
The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) is advising Filipino Muslims to postpone travel plans this year to Saudi Arabia for the religious pilgrimages, Hajj and Umrah, due to the risk of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, according to a press release today published on their official Facebook page (computer translated).
“Those aged 60 and older, pregnant women, children aged five or below, those with diabetes, kidney disease, chronic lung disease, weak immune – they are considered high-risk groups and risk of infection of MERS-CoV, “said DOH Secretary Enrique Ona.
Ona notes that Filipino Muslims that do intend on traveling for the Muslim pilgrimages “to consult with their doctor prior to departure towards Mecca to determine the status of their health.”
The DOH press release states:
Muslims traveling toward Mecca for the ritual performed by the Prophet Muhammad in his last visit to the city. The ritual is called Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam and the ultimate proof of Islam and unity. To perform the Hajj at least once in life duty of a Muslim who has the financial and physical ability to go to Mecca. Hajj is expected to take place this year between October 2 to 7.
The Umrah is considered lower class of travel compared to the Hajj of Islam. It was the visit to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia has not set in conjunction with the Hajj season. The word “umrah” means visiting an important place.
According to the World Health Organization, globally, 820 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV including at least 286 related deaths have officially been reported to WHO. In Saudi Arabia alone, the total MERS-CoV cases stand at 714, including 292 deaths since June 2012. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page