Public health authorities have started to screen Haj pilgrims, who are returning to the city in batches, to check for any symptoms of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). A medical team of the department is screening the pilgrims at the airport.

The first batch of Haj pilgrims from Tamil Nadu left on September 24. A total of 3,851 pilgrims from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry visited Mecca this year, according to an officer of the Tamil Nadu Haj Committee. “The pilgrims have started to arrive in batches since November 6. There are a total of 12 flights to Chennai till November 13,” he said.

A senior official of the Directorate of Public Health said the pilgrims were specifically screened as they would have come in contact with more people at Saudi Arabia.

“Our medical team is screening the pilgrims as and when they arrive at the airport for symptoms like fever, cough and cold. We have not come across any suspicious cases so far,” he said. In regards to other travellers to Saudi Arabia, the official said all major hospitals have been asked to be on alert and report if any person came in with cough, fever and has a history of travel to a foreign country.

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