Over 120,000 illegal pilgrims turned back from Makkah

Saudi police officers check passengers and vehicles at a checkpoint on Makkah-Jeddah highway in Makkah. (File photo)
Updated 21 August 2017
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Over 120,000 illegal pilgrims turned back from Makkah

JEDDAH: Security forces turned back more than 120,000 people who were headed to Makkah without a Hajj permit, and seized 61,600 vehicles, as of Aug. 17.
Hajj security forces said they will step up operations with new security and traffic checkpoints on the roads leading to Makkah.
They stressed the importance of Saudis and residents cooperating with security forces to enable pilgrims to benefit from projects and services offered by the Kingdom.

Civil Defense deployed to safeguard pilgrims
The director of the General Directorate of Civil Defense in the Makkah region, Maj. Gen. Salim bin Marzouq Al-Matrafi, said field units and teams have been deployed in all areas to ensure pilgrims’ safety.
Mobile and fixed Civil Defense teams are fully prepared to deal with any incidents covering all roads on which pilgrims are arriving, he said.
Forces have taken up positions to provide firefighting, rescue and emergency services during the current Hajj season should the need arise, he added.
There are also rapid-intervention teams that can respond and act until the arrival of firefighting and rescue teams, Al-Matrafi said, lauding the coordination between the Civil Defense and other government agencies in Makkah.
Support centers have been prepared in the east and west of Makkah, as well as the central area surrounding the Holy Mosque, he added.


Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

Updated 18 June 2018
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Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

  • The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia
  • The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease

GENEVA: Outbreaks of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) killed 23 people in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 21 and May 31 this year, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The deaths were among 75 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the period, the WHO said, and take the total number of deaths from the disease to 790 since it was first diagnosed in humans in 2012.
The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia.
One outbreak in February hit a private hospital in Hafer Albatin region, where the patient passed the disease to three health workers. There was another cluster of six cases in a hospital in Riyadh in the same month, although no health care workers were infected.
Two other clusters affected households in Jeddah and Najran.
MERS-CoV is a member of a virus family ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It appears to have emerged in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012, although it has been traced in camels, the source of the infection, back to at least 1983.
The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease.
But it kills one in three sufferers, and hospital workers are at risk unless extreme caution is taken to identify MERS sufferers early and to protect health care workers from infection via airborne droplets such as from coughs and sneezes.
Susceptible people should avoid contact with suspected cases and with camels, and anyone who has contact with animals should wash their hands before and afterwards, the WHO said. Everyone should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating undercooked meat.
Three MERS cases have been reported this year outside Saudi Arabia. Oman and the United Arab Emirates each reported a case, while in Malaysia a man fell ill after drinking unpasteurised camel milk during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.