WHO to help KSA probe coronavirus before Haj

Updated 31 May 2013
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WHO to help KSA probe coronavirus before Haj

The World Health Organization said yesterday it would help Saudi Arabia dig deeper into deadly outbreaks of a new SARS-like virus to draw up advice ahead of the annual Haj.
The UN agency, which is not currently recommending any restrictions on travel to the Kingdom or screening of passengers at airports or entry points, will send a second team of experts in the coming weeks, WHO director-general Margaret Chan said.
“Without that proper risk assessment, we cannot have clarity on the incubation period, on the signs and symptoms of the disease, on the proper clinical management and then, last but not least, on travel advice,” Chan said.
The WHO, which sent a first team to Saudi Arabia this month, will provide a fresh risk assessment ahead of this year’s Haj, which takes place in October.
“We need to get the facts clear and get the appropriate advice to all your countries where your pilgrims want to go to Makkah. It is something quite urgent,” Chan said.
Many questions remain about how the new virus spreads and what the vector may be, ranging possibly from animals to surface contamination. Saudi and WHO officials say there has been some contagion between people, but only where contact has been close and prolonged.
Saudi Arabia would send samples taken from animals possibly infected with the deadly virus to the US for testing in a bid to find the source of disease.
Memish said the ministry has collected large samples from bats and other animals, including camels, sheep and cats.


Houthi militias deny 40 relief ships access to Hodeidah Port- Saudi-led coalition

Updated 24 min 18 sec ago
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Houthi militias deny 40 relief ships access to Hodeidah Port- Saudi-led coalition

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition announced today that Houthi militia backed by Iran are not allowing 40 relief ships from entering the port of Hodeidah.

The Coaltion spokesperson Turki Al-Maliki said in a press conference held in Riyadh Wednesday that ridding Yemen of Houthi militia number two was an important development. Al-Maliki said that Al-Sammad was responsible for threatening Saudi Arabia’s peace and and security, as well as being responsible for disrupting maritime traffic in the Red Sea Bab Al-Mandab straight, and the continued suffering of millions of Yemenis.

The spoksperson said that Houthi militia backed by Iran launched more than 125 ballistic missiles toward Saudi Arabia’s territories. Al-Maliki added that the Kingdom's air defense systems have intercepted them. In addition Al-Maliki said that up till now Houthi militia alunched in excess of 66 thousand projectile toward the border with Saudi Arabia.

In conclusion, Al- Al-Maliki reiterated the coalition commitment to helping Yemeni stating that humanitarian help by King Salman’s center for relief and humanitarian ais has delivered aid to help more than 3 million Yemenis.