Saudi not to ban Nigerians for haj travel


Saudi Arabia, which has barred pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea from the haj due to Ebola concerns, will allow Nigerians to attend, an official was reported on Monday as saying, suggesting the smaller outbreak there was less worrying.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been worst hit by an outbreak of the disease in West Africa, with a combined death toll in those three countries since March of 2,097, as at September 5, the World Health Organisation(WHO) says.

A further eight people have died in Nigeria, out of 23 cases, and there has been one confirmed case in Senegal.

There are no approved Ebola vaccines or treatments.

Saudi Arabia said in April it would not issue visas for the 2014 haj to pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea due to the Ebola outbreak in those countries.

Millions travel to Makkah each year for the haj pilgrimage that all Muslims must perform at least once in their lifetime, if they are able. This year’s will take place in October.