Swine Flu May Impact Hugh Upcoming Religious/Holiday Events

  1. http://afludiary.blogspot.com/

    The events in this commentary affect tremendous numbers of people. Somehow I doubt that they are all going to stay home. This offers the virus a free ride to everywhere in the bodies of miliions of people on the move.

    Quote from afludiary.blogspot.com

    Airline travel is down, the cruise industry is taking it on the chin, some summer camps are being canceled, and today public health experts are urging those at greatest risk - the elderly, kids, and pregnant women - not to make the journey to Mecca this year for the hajj.

    Each year several million Muslims make the journey to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, in the 12th month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar. That generally falls in late November or December.

    One can't help but wonder what this pandemic portends for next year's Lunar New Year, which falls in mid-February. In many Asian cultures it is a long held tradition that people return home to attend a reunion dinner with their families on the eve of the lunar New Year.

    This results in the largest migration of humans on the planet, involving hundreds of millions of people each year.
    Factories and businesses all across Asia shut down for a week, sometimes longer, just to accommodate this greatest of all Asian holidays.

    And of course, here in North America, we see an exodus of millions of people from the colder climes each fall, who head south to Florida or Arizona, or one of the warmer states for the winter.
  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   indigo girl
    Hotel bookings in Mecca way down


    Quote from crofsblogs.typepad.com

    Swine flu fears and the global economic crisis are taking their toll on bookings at hotels in the city of Mecca, two months before the start of a minor pilgrimage that attracts up to two million Muslim pilgrims.

    The haj season, which falls in November this year, attracts some three million pilgrims.

    At Ajyad Hotel, favoured for its proximity to the Grand Mosque and the cube-shaped Kaaba building at its centre, bookings for Ramadan's Umra are down 60 per cent. "Last year, at around this time, our booking was 100 per cent," said Ayad Ali Al-Sharif, a reservation desk employee. "I think this is due to the financial crisis and the spread of illnesses..."

    Ajyad is among several hotels that have been erected near the Grand Mosque, some of which are operated by major firms such as Hilton and the Intercontinental Hotels Group.

    An employee at the Intercontinental's Dar Al-Tawhid's Hotel said bookings made for the first half of Ramadan point to an occupancy rate of 50 per cent.
  4. by   indigo girl

    Swine flu as martyrdom? That's a little out there...

    Quote from crofsblogs.typepad.com

    The legal adviser in the Saudi ministry of justice has reassured Muslims that whoever dies of swine flu will get the reward of a 'martyr'.

    In an interview with the Okaz daily, Sheikh Muhsin al-Ubaikan said the spread of swine flu as a pandemic is tantamount to plague.

    The senior Saudi legal scholar referred to what he said was a saying by the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)[peace be upon him] that can be explained to mean that plague victims are martyrs.

    Seven people have died of swine flu in Saudi Arabia so far and the epidemic has caused some Muslim countries to abstain from sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for hajj.

    Meanwhile, Muslim clerics do not approve the Saudi verdict calling it irrational, "Anyone considering himself a martyr for dying while performing Hajj is a fool," said Abdul Moati Bayoumi, a member of the Islamic Research Centre, an influential arm of al-Azhar, which is the Sunni Muslim world's most prestigious religious institution.

    "Islam prohibits its followers from putting themselves at risk," Bayoumi commented.
  5. by   indigo girl
    Egyptian Airports Brace for Umra


    Quote from crofsblogs.typepad.com

    ... Medhat Hendawi, chairman of the Egyptian Airports Company, said the plan would include preparing special arrival halls to receive those returning from Umra by supplying them with more quarantine space and thermal scanning devices to measure passengers' temperatures, in search of any pandemic-related symptoms.

    "The arrival hall at the International Airport of Assiout is now ready and all Egyptian airports will be subject to instructions from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization concerning Umra travelers," Hendawi assured.

    In related news, police in Luxor broke up a gathering of citizens participating in Abul Hagagg Al Oksory' mulid, one of the many mulids cancelled recently for fear of further swine flu spread.

    The streets of the Upper Egyptian town were witness to a police chase involving a number of camel and horse riders coming from villages to celebrate the mulid.
  6. by   oramar
    Quote from indigo girl
    To bad we don't all travel by donkey and camel. The virus would still circle the globe but at a slower rate. You know, I feel like I read about large numbers of people getting killed every year during these religious celebrations from causes other than infections. People are crushed to death in huge human stampeds, they are killed by bridges and tunnels which collapse (tunnels collapse because there are more people standing on them then in them) under their weight. They also die from bad food and water. That is not even to mention terrorist bombings. I would stay away from the thing all the time not just in flu years. Of course my religion does not require me to be a pilgrim, though plenty do it because they want to. I always hated crowds no matter why they occur.
  7. by   indigo girl

    Quote from crofsblogs.typepad.com

    The Maharashtra government, battling to curb the fast-spreading swine flu, faces an unusual challenge -- a string of major religious festivals and the Independence Day celebrations that will see large crowds everywhere, a sure way to spread the highly contagious virus among thousands.

    The Janmashtami festival falls on Friday, Independence Day is the day after, the Parsi New Year is on Aug 19, Ramzan begins Aug 21, the widely popular 10-day Ganeshotsav begins Aug 23, Navratri begins Sep 19, then in October come the state assembly elections and Diwali.

    Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Mayor Shubha Raul have appealed to people not to join the festive crowds this year.

    "Since swine flu spreads quickly in crowded public places, we appeal to the people and organisers to keep Janmashtami simple, austere, without pomp and huge crowds," Chavan said Monday afternoon after a meeting with the festival organisers of the city.

    Quote from crofsblogs.typepad.com

    Maharashtra, which has witnessed seven of India's 10 swine flu deaths, Tuesday recorded 81 new cases, taking to 408 the total number of people infected in the state , while the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) ordered a five-day closure of all schools under it.

    Among the new patients, 74 were in Pune, six in Panchgani and one in Mumbai, State Swine Flu Control Room head Pradip Awati said.

    Of the people under treatment in various hospitals, six in Pune's Sassoon Hospital and two in Mumbai's Hiranandani Hospital are serious, he said.

    "They are all on ventilators and we are constantly monitoring their condition," he added.

    In the meantime, a whopping 35,000 people in Pune have been screened for H1N1 and another 4,500 in Mumbai as panicky citizens rushed to various screening centres opened in public and private hospitals.

    Among the seven deaths in the state, five have been in Pune and two in Mumbai.
  8. by   oramar
    I give them credit for trying. I have heard some people call these mass screening an over reaction. I don't think they are, I mean they have millions of people in their country that were not there a year ago. What else are they to do. They have to fight with the only weapons they have. At least until vaccine come avalaible.