DOH urges Pinoy Muslims to defer Hajj pilgrimage

By , on July 4, 2014

Health Secretary Enrique Ona
Health Secretary Enrique Ona (Photo:

MANILA – Following reports of the growing number of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases, the Department of Health (DOH) urged Filipino pilgrims to defer their Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

“Persons who are 60 years old and above, pregnant women, children below five years, those who have chronic diseases like diabetes and have very weak immunity are at high risk of contracting MERS-CoV,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.

The secretary advised against going to the pilgrimage site in order to avoid getting infected with the MERS-CoV.

He added that a total of 209 deaths from a total of 699 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with MERS-CoV was recently reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ona said health issues should also be considered as the pilgrims may still opt to continue their plans to travel next year.

“We know that Hajj is like a panata for every Muslim, but those who have done it before or those who are planning to go on pilgrimage for the first time can still do it next year,” he said.

He also added that other Muslim countries also have the same advisories which urge their nationals against going on Hajj from September to October this year.