Saudi, S. Korean experts join hands to fight MERS

Updated 16 June 2015

Saudi, S. Korean experts join hands to fight MERS

RIYADH: Health experts from Saudi Arabia and their South Korean counterparts have joined hands to combat the dreaded MERS outbreak in the Far East Asian country, where 16 people have succumbed to the contagion so far.

Five new cases were reported by the Korean Health Ministry on Monday, taking the total to 150, the largest outbreak outside of Saudi Arabia.
Jungho Lee, a senior diplomat and spokesman at the embassy of the Republic of Korea in Riyadh, told Arab News on Monday that Saudi health experts were in Seoul and were working in close coordination with local health workers to fight the disease.
“Having a sophisticated health system, Korea exports medical technologies to the Kingdom and helps in various health care projects. Now, as Saudi Arabia has accumulated solid experience and knowledge in dealing with MERS since its outbreak in June 2012, it is but natural for the Kingdom and the Republic of South Korea to strengthen collaboration in this field,” he said.
Earlier, Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih had offered help to his South Korean counterpart, Moon Hyung-pyo, in the form of Saudi health experts with experience in tackling MERS cases.
The MERS outbreak in South Korea has sparked off international concern and stalled the nation’s economy. According to the Korean ministry of finance, it has resulted in over 100,000 canceled tourist visits.
Jungho said that the Saudi Health Ministry delegation reached Seoul on June 11 and on June 12. “Experts from both the countries held a joint workshop to discuss the outbreak in Korea and the Kingdom, which has recorded the highest number of MERS cases, crossing 1,000 confirmed infections and 454 deaths till Monday.
The first MERS case was reported in South Korea on May 20, when a businessman, who had returned from a tour to the Gulf countries including the Kingdom, testing positive.
Meanwhile, a Korean citizen was hospitalized in Slovakia after being suspected of carrying the MERS virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the MERS outbreak in South Korea, which it described as “large and complex.”


Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

Photo supplied
Updated 20 August 2019

Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

  • Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain

A Saudi bakery and restaurant business specializing in pastries is finding its way into Saudi hearts with a delectable selection of fine Italian, French, and Swiss foods.
Ahmad Essam, 28, a self-taught baker and chef, left a productive family business to create what is now one of the most prestigious bakeries in Alkhobar.
Essam set up his bakery and restaurant while working as a production engineer, selling tarts and cakes to his friends.
He was overwhelmed by the encouragement he received, and little by little Essam, his dream of running his own company emerged.
Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain.
Baking French pastries such as croissants, macarons, mille-feuille, eclairs and tarts require a true artisan. Essam described the glory he feels when he bakes, saying: “Dealing with precise tips to get the real essence of French pastries and reaching a level to bake without recipes is a matter of experience and good knowledge. Being a real baker requires a lot of learning as it’s not only about mixing water and flour; its trick lies behind the process of fermentation that sometimes lasts for days.’’
Every once in a while, the young man distributes membership books to loyal customers. “On Valentine’s Day, we distributed 3,000 roses,” he added.
Essam is very passionate, and dreams of opening a cooking academy in Saudi Arabia so he can inspire other amateur bakers; he told Arab News about his future 12,000-square-meters cooking village project that he is aiming to create in Riyadh, “including a library that collects all cookbooks, a seasonal spice shop, a great lake garden, a pizzeria, glossary shop and more, all of which falls under one theme: Cooking.”
For him, business is an obsession and profession. “Chefs have their egos. They are dealing with a tricky job and they know what they are doing exactly. They do not accept comments or advice from other chefs,” he explained.
You can follow him for more information on White Mountain on Instagram: @wm.bakery.