Hospitals on Alert As Saudi Arabia Finds Six New MERS Cases

Two people have died after being affected with MERS over the last two days, prompting fresh health warnings to prevent an outbreak.



Hospitals across Saudi Arabia have been urged by the government to step up preventive measures against MERS in order to prevent a surge in infections, local media reported.

Deputy Head of Health Ministry’s Command and Control Center Khaled Obaid Bawakid has directed all medical professionals in hospitals not to leave the country until two weeks from the last time they mixed with coronavirus-infected patients.

The warning comes as the number of infectious cases in the Kingdom surged recently, mirroring a similar trend from last year.

Over the last two days, two people died in Saudi Arabia after being infected by MERS while six others across five cities were diagnosed with the infection, local daily Saudi Gazette reported.

A 70-year old Saudi man and a 41-year old expat woman were the latest victims to succumb to the virus.

Meanwhile other infected cases were mainly health workers who mixed with MERS patients and camel farm workers, the newspaper said.

The health ministry was quoted as saying that those infected were in a stable condition and were being treated.

A delegation from the World Health Organisation will also be arriving soon to help the Kingdom counter the sudden surge in MERS cases.

MERS, which originated in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, has been reported more frequently in the country since October last year after a brief lull.

The disease, which causes coughing, fever and sometimes pneumonia, has infected more than 800 people in Saudi alone, killing more than 480 of the infected cases, officials said.

MERS has also been reported in nine other Middle East countries while 13 other countries have had travel-associated cases, or cases that they have diagnosed but which originated overseas.

Recently a Filipino nurse, who travelled from Saudi Arabia to the Philippines, was tested positive for MERS, officials said. She also reportedly affected 11 other people, who began showing symptoms of the disease.