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UAE urges elderly, chronic patients to defer Haj over MERS fears

UAE health authorities have urged the elderly and those with underlying chronic health conditions to avoid Haj this year because of the threat of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV) that has claimed 50 lives out of 108 confirmed cases worldwide, Khaleej Times has reported. "This year we are trying to warn people who are too old and those who have chronic conditions to avoid Haj because they are at greater risk of contracting the virus," said Dr Ashraf Mahmoud El Houfi, chairman of the Infection Control Committee UAE. "We know people are afraid and we think it is better for them to avoid travel," he added.