Isolation ward in Mecca to check Ebola virus

Saudi Arabia will establish a 50-bed exclusive isolation ward at Arafat Hospital in Mecca during the Haj pilgrimage as a preventive measure against the Ebola virus and other communicable diseases, Arab News reported Tuesday.

IANS| Updated: Sep 09, 2014, 16:14 PM IST

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia will establish a 50-bed exclusive isolation ward at Arafat Hospital in Mecca during the Haj pilgrimage as a preventive measure against the Ebola virus and other communicable diseases, Arab News reported Tuesday.

Deputy Health Minister for Planning and Development Mohammed Al-Khasheem said that over 22,000 medics will be deployed at the holy sites and in Mecca during the busy season, who are trained in accordance with international standards to fight Ebola.

"The health ministry is examining pilgrims coming from abroad at 16 entry points across the kingdom and at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah," Al-Khasheem said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia Monday received the first group of 543 Nigerian pilgrims with tight health procedures to ensure that they are free from the Ebola virus disease before entering the country as part of a special campaign for pilgrims coming from West Africa.

The health ministry is following the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on possible symptoms among pilgrims coming from Nigeria and other African nations, he said.

Other measures include establishing a scientific advisory board, issuing firm guidelines to contain the dangers of infections spreading, allocating a number of hospitals to deal with infected cases and providing scientific guidelines on how to deal with suspected cases.