Saudi bans Haj visas to Ebola-hit nations
Posted on Aug 08 2014 | IANS
Doha, Aug 8 : The Saudi government has stopped issuing visas for Haj and Umrah (Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca) to people from countries affected by the deadly Ebola virus, a media report here said Friday.
The Saudi health ministry also said it had quarantined all people who had come in contact with a Saudi man who died Thursday because of Ebola, The Peninsula reported.
All these people will be kept under observation for 21 days, the incubation period of the virus, the ministry said, adding that there were no new suspected cases of Ebola in the kingdom.
It, however, denied some media reports suggesting about a new case in Jeddah.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation Friday declared the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa as an International Health Emergency.
The current Ebola outbreak started in the West African country of Guinea in December 2013.
It has now manifested itself in Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone besides Guinea. Till Aug 4, the countries have reported 1,711 cases (1,070 confirmed, 436 probable, 205 suspect), including 932 deaths.
The virus is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of those infected.