Thai Muslims traveling to Hajj to be screened for MERS

The Thai Public health ministry has introduced measures for around 10,000 undertaking pilgrimage, including vaccinations and monitoring

Thai Muslims traveling to Hajj to be screened for MERS

World Bulletin / News Desk

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health will impose new measures on Muslims traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage amid efforts to try and stop the spread of the MERS virus, local media reported Monday.

Surachet Satitramai, the ministry’s acting permanent secretary, said Thailand will introduce several new measures for the estimated 10,000 Thais undertaking the pilgrimage this September.

The ministry will vaccinate pilgrims for flu and yellow fever before their travels while dispatching its own doctors to monitor them during their journey, according to the Bangkok Post.

Upon their return, the pilgrims will be monitored for up to a month and if they exhibit any symptoms of the virus, they will be quarantined and treated.

Thailand revealed its first case of MERS last week when a 75-year-old medical tourist from Oman was confirmed to have the virus.

The patient was isolated in an infectious disease hospital, with those who had been in contact with him being monitored.

Three members of his family who had been traveling alongside him were also isolated and quarantined, but tests for MERS have so far shown up negative, the ministry said Monday.

Worldwide, more than 460 people have died from MERS since 2012.

Experts believe that the illness can incubate for up to two weeks before symptoms appear -- but the World Health Organization admitted Wednesday that “there are still many gaps in knowledge regarding the transmission of this virus between people.”

It appears to be spread among people in respiratory droplets, although most infections have occurred in those who had close contact with MERS patients. 

More than two dozen countries have reported cases, including South Korea, the U.S., Britain, France and Germany.

On Monday, South Korea's health ministry announced that the virus had claimed 27 lives and infected 169 people locally.

The South Korean government has come under criticism for failing to take sufficient measures to initially contain the disease when the country's first infection was reported last month -- in a man who had returned from the Middle East.

Last Mod: 22 Haziran 2015, 10:12
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