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MUIS advises pilgrims to take precautions amid MERS outbreak

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has issued a health advisory to Muslims who are planning to perform the umrah, or minor pilgrimage, during the upcoming school holidays.

SINGAPORE: The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has issued a health advisory to Muslims who are planning to perform the umrah, or minor pilgrimage, during the upcoming school holidays.

The advisory was issued in light of the rise in the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in Saudi Arabia recently.

The kingdom said that 10 more people infected with the virus had died over the last two days.

This raises the death toll to 157 since the virus was identified two years ago and pushes the total number of infections in the country to 511.

MUIS said from this month, it is providing contact details of all pilgrims to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to help with contact tracing, if necessary.

"These contact details will also enable hospitals to check whether a registered patient has recently returned from pilgrimage so that the appropriate medical investigations can be carried out," MUIS said.

"All contact details will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and used only for these public health purposes."

MUIS urged pilgrims to familiarise themselves with the MOH's health advisory on MERS-CoV.

The advisory is available online at www.moh.gov.sg, and is also provided at the pre-departure briefings for pilgrims conducted by travel agents.

Pilgrims, especially those with pre-existing chronic medical conditions, are advised to consult a doctor and ensure that they are medically fit for the umrah before departing.

MUIS also urged pilgrims to get vaccinated against influenza and meningitis, while those aged 65 and above or those with chronic medical conditions are encouraged to obtain pneumococcal vaccination as well.

Pilgrims are further advised to observe good personal hygiene at all times, adopt good food safety and hygiene practices, avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections and avoid contact with camels and other live animals.  


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