Haj pilgrims
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The first flight carrying Dubai Haj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia will leave from Terminal 2 on July 31, with Dubai preparing to send 2,300 pilgrims this season, a top Dubai Airports official said.

Speaking to Gulf News ahead of the departure, Mohammad Al Marzouqi, head of terminals at Dubai Airports, said, “The first flight is by flydubai. Other airlines will also be flying the pilgrims.”

He said this year a total of 6,626 pilgrims will be undertaking the Haj from the UAE.

In a message to pilgrims departing from Dubai, Al Marzouqi said, “We urge them to arrive at the airport four hours prior to their departure time. We also hope they have taken their vaccinations and will be carrying their vaccination cards on them. We also advise them to check their travel documents, the validity of their visas, passport and Emirates ID.”

Earlier, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) had notified pilgrims undertaking the Haj to adequately prepare themselves by complying with the immunisation requirements mandated by the authorities.

Giving the immunisation details, Dr Laila Al Jasmi, the ministry’s head of vaccination department, had told a press conference, “All pilgrims have to take the meningococcal vaccine and obtain a valid international certificate of vaccination. It is recommended to take the vaccine 15 days prior to travel.”

926,726 pilgrims

Meanwhile, as many as 926,726 Haj pilgrims have already arrived in Saudi Arabia from different countries through air, land and sea ports, the Saudi Press Agency, SPA, reported.

As many as 881,229 pilgrims reached by air, 35,148 by land and 10,349 by sea, according to the statistics issued by the Saudi Directorate General of Passports. This represented an increase of 11 per cent, compared to the number of arrivals during the same period last year, the SPA quoted the Directorate General as saying.

While the meningococcal vaccine is mandatory for all pilgrims, vaccines for yellow fever and polio are also mandated for pilgrims from some specific countries. Other vaccines like seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are not mandatory, but highly recommended. The vaccines were being made available in all primary health care centres and other clinics under the ministry.

Image Credit: Gulf News