A group of Muslims left northwest China's Gansu Province on Monday for the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, local authorities said.
A total of 297 Muslims boarded a chartered flight in Gansu's capital of Lanzhou at around 2:45 p.m. Monday, according to the Gansu Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. It is Gansu's first chartered plane this year for the Hajj.
From Monday to Saturday, more than 2,900 pilgrims from Gansu, Tibet Autonomous Region and other parts of China will fly to Saudi Arabia via ten chartered flights departing from Lanzhou.
The bureau has enhanced efforts to spread knowledge about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The Saudi health ministry will also enforce tight border control measures to prevent the spread of MERS and the Zika virus during the Hajj, which will start next month.