(Foto:Arab News)
(Foto:Arab News)

Madinah, 26  Dzulqa’dah 1436/ 10 September 2015 (MINA) –  The Ministry of Health has reiterated that the ban on slaughtering camels during Haj would remain in place, with no exceptions, because of the danger posed by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.

Faisal Al-Zahrani, spokesman of the ministry, said the ban covers the entire Kingdom during Eid Al-Adha.

It also includes the Burmese community in Makkah, whose members traditionally sacrifice camels. They would now have to use lambs, he was quoted as saying by a local publication.

He said the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh had issued an edict instituting the ban to protect pilgrims. The fatwa states that people can use cows or sheep, Arab News quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Abdulrahman Abdulkarim, an official at the Reconciliation Council at the Mount of Ohod in Madinah, said the Burmese community collects money to buy camels every year, with people sharing the meat of the animal.

He said that he has not received any official confirmation of the ban. However, several camel merchants have stopped buying camels and purchased sheep and cows because of the MERS virus, he said.

Camels have been identified as carriers of the MERS virus, which has infected 1,225 people in the kingdom since June 2012 when tit was first discovered by scientists.

Of the total, 521 victims have died, 633 have recovered and 71 are still under treatment, including 16 new cases in the past four days.

The Ministry of Agriculture earlier said that 3.3 percent, or 7,700 out of the 233,000 camels in the Kingdom, are infected with MERS virus. (T/Imt/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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