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6,570 Moro pilgrims leave for Mecca amid deadly MERS-CoV, Ebola threats

There is no stopping pilgrims, including over 6,570 Filipinos, from performing the obligatory hajj—the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia—this year.

Not even the threats of the deadly Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) and the deadlier Ebola virus now spreading in some African countries.

Around 719 Moros are expected to be in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for the hajj in the first week of October, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) said on Friday.

NCMF Secretary Bai Yasmin Busran-Lao said 435 pilgrims have left during the past few days, while 284 others were set fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday afternoon.

Through their leaders (sheikhs), the pilgrims have been booked in about 70 flights for the journey, which a direct flight takes about nine hours from Manila to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

A five-day intense worship, the hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are all obligatory to adult Muslims, male or female.