China to vaccinate Mecca pilgrims against swine flu

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Indy Lifestyle Online

China is to give swine flu vaccinations to 12,700 Muslims making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, state media reported Thursday, amid health concerns ahead of the three-million-strong hajj.

The China Islamic Association said the pilgrims would also be given free medicine and disposable masks, and a medical team will accompany them to hand out advice on A(H1N1) flu prevention, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to welcome some three million pilgrims during the annual hajj to Mecca, expected around the end of November, amid a heightened global alert on the swine flu pandemic.

Yang Zhibo, vice chairman of the Chinese association, was quoted as saying that more than 3,000 of this year's pilgrims came from the far-western region of Xinjiang -- home to the country's eight million mainly Muslim Uighurs.

According to the latest health ministry figures, China has recorded more than 23,700 cases of swine flu, with one death so far.

mbx/sst/jah

 

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