The Public Health Ministry will send 42 medical personnel to accompany Thai Muslims joining the Hajj in Saudi Arabia this year.
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary of the ministry, and assistant of the permanent secretary, Dr Suppachok Wetchaphanphesat, yesterday said they will be at Suvarnabhumi Airport today to see off the first medical team to join pilgrims on the trip.
Dr Suppachok said that about 12,000 Thai Muslims, mostly from the South, will travel to Mecca from May 21-June 23, and return in July.
All had to pass a set of health checkups and receive vaccinations, or boosters, to protect them against influenza, meningococcal disease and Covid-19.
The ministry issued a vaccine certificate for them to keep as evidence.
He added the ministry had also provided training for Hajj health volunteers, who will coordinate with the pilgrims while working together with the medical team.
During their trip to Mecca, Dr Suppachok said the personnel would be divided into three teams with Dr Zulkifli Yusof, director of Mai Kaen Hospital in Pattani and deputy director of the Southernmost Health Development Administrative Centre, appointed as the leader of this year’s Thai Hajj Medical Office.
The rest of the volunteers and medics are expected to depart on June 2 and June 15, respectively, he said.
The Hajj goers will also be expected to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine as soon as they touch down on Thai soil on their return, said Dr Suppachok.
Meanwhile, the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) responded to rumours online that they had not collected any additional charges for Muslims who wanted to go on the pilgrimage this year.
According to a statement released yesterday by the SBPAC, it had yet to receive a budget from the government to bolster teams helping people in the south, most of whom have been affected by the violent unrest in the region’s three major provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, join the pilgrimage.
SBPAC is also concerned about the higher cost of travel for people who wanted to attend the Hajj and also warned of any scams that might use the SBPAC’s name to defraud pilgrims.