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Returning pilgrims with viral symptoms urged to visit hospitals

By JT - Sep 29,2015 - Last updated at Sep 29,2015

AMMAN — Health Minister Ali Hiasat on Monday called on pilgrims returning to the Kingdom to visit the nearest hospital or health centre if they notice symptoms of respiratory system diseases or high temperatures. 

Hiasat explained that this advice was intended to allow hospitals to conduct necessary medical tests on sick pilgrims and to detect any cases of coronavirus in its early stages, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The minister added that pilgrims who visited health facilities for respiratory system diseases would be offered free medical treatment and tests at the ministry’s hospitals and health centres regardless of their nationalities.

Coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

The global SARS epidemic in 2002 killed nearly 800 people.

MERS is a strain of coronavirus that was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and is believed to have originated in camels.

Hiasat also highlighted the importance of pilgrims’ monitoring their health during the first two weeks after their return, which represents the virus’ incubation period, during which symptoms can appear in those infected, according to Petra.

For years, the ministry has been actively engaged in detecting acute respiratory diseases at its hospitals and health centres across the Kingdom to investigate influenza and coronavirus, said Hiasat, adding that the ministry’s communicable disease control department identifies hospitalised cases and takes samples.


The Jordanian medical mission accompanied pilgrims at all stages of the Hajj and protected their health by presenting them with medications for prevention and treatment where needed, the minister said. 

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