The Embassy of Saudi Arabia suspended visas of 7,200 pilgrims from three African countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the disease among the pilgrims during the forthcoming Haj season.
Mohammad Al-Homoud, charge d’affaires at the Saudi Embassy in the Guinean capital Conakry, said the decision to suspend the visas was issued some time back.
“The governments in these countries were very much understanding of the decision, which aims mainly to boost prevention measures against the spread of the virus because the second wave of it has already kicked off,” added Al-Homoud.
He said these countries also want to make sure its citizens are free of the virus, adding: “The fact that the virus is still spreading compels us to continue the suspension of visas for this Haj season.”
The talks between the Saudi Embassy in Conakry and the governments of these countries started four months ago.
Meanwhile, Saudi Ambassador in Guinea Amjad Bedaiwi told local media that the Kingdom has put a condition that the suspension of visas will be reviewed only after World Health Organization (WHO) issues a clear cut statement that citizens in these countries are allowed to travel for Haj.
Bedaiwi said the embassy extensively discussed the issue with the Guinean government, an Islamic state, where the number of its pilgrims comes to nearly 7,000 as against 400 others from both Sierra Leone and Liberia.
On the other hand, Jeddah health department issued strict directions to air and sea borders’ outlets to enhance its procedures and prevent the coming of the Ebola virus-infected pilgrims.
An official source at Jeddah health department stated that the measures involve monitoring the epidemic in general and checking all the incoming passengers from the neighboring African countries that recorded cases of the disease to ensure that no one with a case of infection with the virus enters the Kingdom.
Dr. Khalid Obaid Bawaked, assistant director of Public Health Department in Jeddah, said the measures will ensure that the virus will not enter the country.
“The Ebola virus is a very dangerous disease once its first symptoms appear. The precautionary measures and the enforcement of the strict health conditions are very important, mainly because of the forthcoming Haj season where the guests of God come from all around the world,” said Bawaked.
“The Ebola hemorrhagic fever caused by the virus is one of the most known lethal diseases,” he said, adding that the virus was first discovered in 1976 in a tropical district to the west of Sudan, near Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of Congo).
But the virus did not record any case outside middle and east Africa. There are five strains of the virus — Bundibugyo, Ebola-Cote d’Ivoire, Ebola-Reston, and the Ebola-Zaire and Sudan.
The virus enters the body by touching the body fluids of an infected patient, such as his blood or the other fluids. The virus can be transmitted also to humans when dealing with wild animals carrying the virus such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, antelopes and fruits’ bats, whether sick or dead.
Up till now, there is neither an effective qualitative cure for the disease nor vaccine. The treatment is generally limited to providing supportive care.
Severe conditions of the disease require the provision of intensive supportive care for patients who often suffer from dehydration, and badly need the administration of fluids using solutions containing electrolytes.
And because there is no effective cure or vaccine for the prevention or treatment of the disease up till this very day, precautionary and preventive measures are the only way to limit cases of infection and deaths among people.
WHO recently said death cases as a result of the Ebola virus in Africa had increased to 887 deaths. The WHO statement added that there are 1,603 cases of infection with the virus in four west African states, of which there are 485 cases in Guinea, 468 in Liberia, 646 in Sierra Leone and 4 in Nigeria.
http://www.arabnews.com/news/saudi-arabia/612306 ——by @UC Browser