Call for an instant quote
0345 90 80 161
Open Mon to Fri 09:00 - 17:30 | Sat 09:00 - 16:00 (GMT)
26 July 2013 08:40
Up to 25,000 Britons are expected to undertake the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca this year
Elderly Muslims are being advised not to take part in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca because of a deadly new Sars-like virus.
Pregnant women, children under 12 and people with chronic illnesses should also abstain from performing the Hajj later this year, health officials said.
So far Mers-CoV, which stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, has killed half of the people known to be infected.
The World Health Organisation (Who) said the disease is a ''threat to the entire world and emerging faster than our understanding''.
Its latest data shows there have been 90 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 45 deaths.
Three people have died in the UK as a result of the infection, including a 49-year-old Qatari man who died at the end of June.
He was being treated in the intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital in central London but died after his condition deteriorated.
The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia said vulnerable groups should not participate in the Hajj this year "for their own safety".
It also advised pilgrims who are attending the event to comply with public health guidance, including wearing masks in crowded places.
Although vulnerable groups are urged against travelling to Mecca, the warning underpins the importance of
seniors travel insurance for older people when travelling abroad in general, as well as
medical travel insurance for those with ongoing conditions planning holidays to other destinations.
The Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, with all Muslims striving to undertake the sacred journey at least once in their lifetime.
It is estimated that up to 25,000 British Muslims will make it this year, and those who do should ensure they take out
travel insurance before leaving home.
Health officials in the UK have been told to be vigilant for severe unexplained respiratory illness in anyone who has recently travelled to the Middle East, and also watch out for any unexplained clusters of such illness.
Coronaviruses cause most common colds but can also cause Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which led to the deaths of hundreds of people in Asia following an outbreak in 2003.
26 October 2016
People could be at a bigger risk of having high blood pressure if their home is close to a busy road, research has suggested.
25 October 2016
Almost 200 ill youngsters have been given the chance to enjoy a holiday of a lifetime thanks to the annual Dreamflight trip.
22 October 2016
A "perfect storm" of the falling value of the pound and security fears means holidaymakers are avoiding travel in Europe during October half-term.
21 October 2016
A union is warning of travel chaos over the Christmas period at four major UK airports, unless a baggage carrier transfers staff to other companies.
20 October 2016
Thousands of passengers faced travel chaos yesterday after rail service through the Channel Tunnel was suspended because of a power failure.
19 October 2016
People planning holidays from Gatwick Airport in the run up to Christmas could face travel chaos as unions threaten to strike over a pension dispute.
18 October 2016
Eurostar has said it will cut 12 services from London St Pancras to Paris and Brussels.
15 October 2016
Tourists in Thailand are being advised to "behave respectfully" and wear "sombre" clothing as the country mourns King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
14 October 2016
Holidaymakers are being warned to buy currency in advance as exchange rates being offered are as little as 0.96 euro to the pound at airports.
13 October 2016
Scientists say there is strong evidence air pollution and vitamin D deficiency can cause dementia.
12 October 2016
More people are going on holiday than at any time in the past five years despite terror attacks and the impact of Brexit, according to a study.
11 October 2016
People from across North Carolina had to be rescued from their homes as the downgraded Hurricane Matthew blew out to sea - leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.