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H1N1 Clearance Made Compulsory for Haj Visa

Adel Arafah / 14 September 2009

ABU DHABI — Performers of Haj this year will need to furnish a health certificate to show they are free of the H1N1 virus, the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments has announced.

Mohammed Obeid Al Mazrouie, head of the UAE Official Haj Mission and executive director of the authority, told Khaleej Times the measure was compulsory to obtain entry visa for Haj.

“We are joining hands with the Ministry of Health and other local health authorities to lay out the standard health form for the medical fitness certificate,” he said.

Al Mazrouie said, “The measure springs out of the government keenness to ensure health safety and well-being of pilgrims.”

The health clearance certificate, he said, would be issued by accredited government health providers, not private health facilities, to guarantee greater accuracy in medical examination.

He said the escorting doctor will also sign the certificate to ensure further accuracy. He added the Health Ministry and the authority would install an e-system to prevent fraud.

Al Mazrouie said potential pilgrims would also undergo screening for chronic diseases like heart disease and asthma that could undermine the immunity system and make pilgrims vulnerable to infections.

“The government is taking these measures to protect pilgrims from diseases before they depart the country (for) the holy lands,” he said.

“Consequently, the authority will not allow any person to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj this season without submitting this certificate,” he said.


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