Pilgrims greeted with flowers, sweets — and health advice

Airport officials present flowers to the European Hajj pilgrims, as they arrive at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport on late Friday.

:: Saudi Arabia welcomed the first of this year’s international Hajj pilgrims by air and sea on Friday.

A flight carrying pilgrims from the UK city of Manchester arrived at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport — the Kingdom’s main gateway for worshippers arriving by air — while two ships carrying pilgrims from Sudan docked at Jeddah Islamic Port.

The airport arrivals were greeted by the commander of the Hajj Passports Force, Col. Suleiman bin Mohammed Al-Yusuf, and Barrie Peach, the British consul general in Jeddah.

Peach praised efforts by the Saudi authorities to ensure that the Hajj experience is as simple and smooth as possible, with a range of projects in Makkah and Madinah and other holy sites. He thanked the Kingdom for welcoming the pilgrims with flowers and sweets.

More than 2,300 Sudanese pilgrims arrived on two ships, the Mouda and the Nour. Staff from the port’s health center checked that the worshippers had the required health certificates, including vaccination against meningitis and yellow fever, in line with the ministry’s instructions.

Dr. Nashwan Abdullah, director of the center, said that vaccinations are provided for those who need them, and special health treatment is offered to pregnant women, the elderly and children.

Pilgrims are also offered first-aid kits, information booklets and umbrellas.

Abdullah said that processing the first group of pilgrims went smoothly thanks to the efforts of medical and support teams. The center has 115 teams, which include doctors and technicians.

In addition to carrying out health checks, medical staff provide urgently needed medication. Medical equipment is available to treat emergency cases among pilgrims and port workers.

The center also follows up complaints of sickness, as well as chronic disease, to make sure patients are in good health. Urgent cases are also reviewed, while people needing additional or more complex medical treatment are referred to hospitals in Jeddah.

Meanwhile, more than 200 applications to perform Hajj this year have been received by the Saudi Embassy in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The consular section of the embassy is processing the applications in accordance with the directives of tKing Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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