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Stay away from political gatherings, says Minister
August 14, 2015, 5:15 pm

 Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs is planning to give strict instructions to accredited Hajj caravans in the country to ensure pilgrims stay away from any political gatherings while they perform the Hajj rituals in the sacred places, reports Al- Qabas daily quoting reliable sources. They said the ministry will ask the owners of Hajj caravans to be cautious of any strange individuals who join their caravans, adding that it will urge parents to advise their children against radicalism and fanaticism, and teach them the principle of religious moderation in their minds. The sources explained that the ministry sent a circular in which it stressed the need to increase the awareness of the pilgrims by holding seminars and cultural activities with the cooperation of the committees in charge of cultural campaigns that are aimed to embed values and habits of the Kuwaiti society in people.

The circular affirmed that the blessing of security and safety which the nation enjoys must be maintained and national unity must be enforced to strongly confront anyone who seeks to destabilize the country and its institutions. Meanwhile, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sane has affirmed that the ministry is ready for the Hajj season, saying he has been personally supervising the preparations, reports Al-Shahed daily. The minister explained the law on Hajj and Umrah will take care of some violations and problems among Hajj caravans and pilgrims, assuring that the rights of the pilgrims are protected. He also urged the caravans to strictly abide by the rules and regulations to guarantee security and safety of pilgrims. He said this will also help the caravan owners avoid committing violations and being subjected to questioning.

He confirmed the ministry has granted its officials the right to refer violators to the judiciary. He added the ministry will stand firm against whoever issues bogus Hajj visa. And Saudi Hajj Ministry has informed Kuwait’s Hajj mission and Awqaf Ministry that the Kingdom will only accept 6,400 Hajj pilgrims from Kuwait this year. The Assistant Undersecretary for T e c h n i c a l C o o r d i n a t i o n , Foreign Relations and Hajj at the Ministry of awqaf and Islamic affairs, Khulaif Al- Athainah, underlined the importance of coordination among Hajj missions to upgrade performance and improve services to pilgrims and fulfill their religious duties with ease and comfort. Al-Athainah, who is also head of the Kuwaiti Hajj mission, has checked several Kuwaiti Hajj campaigns to finalize preparations for the upcoming pilgrimage for sake of securing all needed services for the pilgrims.

Furthermore, he indicated to the cooperation between the Mission and Saudi Hajj Authorities and the necessity to guide campaigns about means and precautions that provide them with safety and security. In addition, he urged the pilgrims to abide by Hajj regulations, to carry their Hajj permits with them at all times and to join a trusted Hajj convoy. In another development, health experts from the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK, a national Hajj specific organisation, express their concern of continuously reported cases of MERS Coronavirus in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Hajj pilgrimage is round the corner and over 3 million pilgrims from around the world would be mingling in Makkah, Saudi Arabia in order to perform their pilgrimage in few weeks time. It has been reported that during last week, a 73-year-old woman died and four men were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus bringing the total number of cases in the Kingdom to 1,082.

Since June 2012, the MERS cases resulted in 473 deaths and twenty-two patients are currently being treated in hospitals throughout the Kingdom. Health experts stress the prospective pilgrims that they must follow the vital guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which states that specific emphasis should be placed on hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing hands after coughing and sneezing, and trying to keep a distance, where possible with suspected infected person. Always follow good food-safety practices, such as avoiding undercooked meat or food prepared under unsanitary conditions, and properly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them. According to further guidelines of WHO, if any pilgrim develops a significant acute respiratory illness with fever and cough during their performance of pilgrimage, they should seek medical assistance without any delay.

Infected pilgrims must avoid attending crowded places and preferably isolate themselves until the end of the respiratory symptoms and, if isolation is not possible, use a tissue for covering nose and mouth or a surgical mask when in crowded places. Health experts from the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK strongly urge that all the relevant authorities to make every effort to implement the directives issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in which they are required to raise awareness amongst the prospective pilgrims of the risks of contracting the deadly and lethal infectious diseases including MERS. This awareness is extremely important not only to protect the pilgrims, but also to eliminate the risk of the spread of these deadly.

Source: Arab Times

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