BEIJING: The Chinese government is to give free A/H1N1 flu inoculations to 12,700 Muslims on pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia this year, together with free medicines and disposable masks, the China Islamic Association announced Thursday.
A medical team of 44 workers, together with four medical experts assigned by the Ministry of Health, would accompany the pilgrims to give advice on A/H1N1 flu prevention.
Yang Zhibo, vice chairman of the association, said the pilgrims this year came from 27 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, with an average age of 60.
More than 3,000 were from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the largest number among all regions, said Yang.
The pilgrims will take chartered flights to Mecca from October 30 to November 17 and return in December.
Since 1979, Muslims in China have made the pilgrimage to Mecca every year. In 2008, the number of pilgrims topped 10,000.