The Health Ministry of Saudi Arabia has reiterated that the ban on slaughtering camels during Haj will 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 of Saudi Arabia during Eid Al-Adha, Arab News reported on Thursday.
The spokesman said the ban on slaughtering of camels during Eid Al-Adha was based on a Fatwa issued by the Kingdom’s Grand Mufti who said the camels for sacrifice could be replaced by sheep, cattle or goats.
We have started dismantling the random camel dens in the holy sites and along the roads between Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah, he said.
Camels have been identified as carriers of the MERS virus, which has infected 1,225 people in Saudi Arabia 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 Saudi Arabia Agriculture Ministry earlier said that 3.3 percent, or 7,700 out of the 233,000 camels in the Kingdom, are infected with MERS virus.