Haj pilgrims told to take extra care on health, hygiene

National 2 minutes, 59 seconds


AUTHORITIES handling the Brunei contingent of Haj pilgrims for this season were able to boost client confidence in its ability to manage health related issues recently with its hands-on approach to the concerns raised by the public.

Following the current Ebola situation, almost all pilgrims listed with Darussalam Holdings Sdn Bhd, totaling 300, were having second thoughts however, as commented by a number of the travelers, these doubts were soon removed with the company's briefings focusing more on health related matters.

Scheduled to fly out starting September 10 onwards, the knowledge sharing seminar yesterday reiterated to the pilgrim what is to be expected during Haj.

Ustaz Hj Muskrisman Safari Hj Mustapa and Hj Mahmud Hj Mohamed also gave the pilgrims further advice on how to get most out of their journey.

Held at the International Convention Centre, the sharing seminar was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Education and Chairman of the board of DHSB Dato Seri Setia Hj Yusoff Hj Ismail.

Three heads of families commenting on the Ebola virus situation said that although some were doubtful at first on whether to go ahead with the pilgrimage, the concern shown by Darussalam Holdings officials were enough to convince them otherwise.

A woman, who did not wish to be named, said that the Ebola virus is a huge concern but trusts the government of Brunei is taking necessary measures to ensure no one will catch the disease.

“The pilgrims are all or will be given injections prior to departing. This is one of the important measures taken by the government.”

“Of course, we can’t only depend on that. We need to make sure that our environment is clean as well.”

Another head of family, who wants to be known as Hj Timbul, said that upon hearing the news that the Ebola virus is increasing, he had doubts whether he should go for Haj or postpone it to a later time.

“I was quite concerned especially now that I am at an age where diseases are inevitable. I’m not saying that people my age will be easily infected but I think the chances are quite high.”

Despite that, Hj Timbul said he wanted to go ahead with going for Haj because he has been waiting for quite a long time. “I will also be bringing my grandchildren who are in their late teens – I have been feeding them with vitamins and supplements to boost their immune system.”

Meanwhile, a father of two said that when he heard about the Ebola virus, he decided not to bring his children and wife.

“I have saved enough money to bring my whole family for Haj, but ever since I heard about the virus that’s spreading quite fast now, I decided to just bring my brother.”

“My wife and children will stay in Brunei for the mean time and insyaAllah, I will bring them next year. By then, hopefully the virus will be under control.”

“I’m not quite sure what else is being done to prevent the virus from spreading other than getting the injections, but I think it is quite safe for us to go especially since the number of people going has been reduced. InsyaAllah things will be ok.”

The first flight will be on September 10 while the second group will be departing the next day, September 11. Heading the delegation will be the Managing Director of DHSB, Hj Mahmud Hj Mohamed who will leave for Saudi Arabia on September 2, to ensure that operations are in place before the arrival of the pilgrims.

The Brunei Times