Hajj pilgrims will be monitored for MERS

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BANGKOK, 12 September 2015 – Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr. Narong Sahamethaphat (ณรงค์ สหเมธาพัฒน์) has instructed provincial public health offices to be on the lookout for a possible outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as more than 10-thousand hajj pilgrims will start returning from Saudi Arabia in a couple of weeks. 

Dr. Narong held a video conference with heads of provincial public health units on Friday. He stressed that the public health offices in the 14 provinces that would see the return of hajj pilgrims must prepare appropriate MERS prevention measures.

He underlined the importance of having isolation rooms, and protective gears for both the general public and medical personnel.

The Permanent Secretary also urged the 4 international airports in the country – Suvarnnabhumi, Phuket, Hat Yai and Narathiwat to be extra vigilant in scanning for the disease.

The hajj pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia will be put under close watch for the next 14 days. There has been no report of Thais suffering from MERS so far.