MERS strikes: 2 dead in 5 days, 4 contract virus

Updated 27 August 2013
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MERS strikes: 2 dead in 5 days, 4 contract virus

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) has claimed two more lives in Saudi Arabia and four others have been diagnosed with the disease in the past five days, the Ministry of Health said on Sunday.
This brings the global death toll from MERS to 47, including 41 in Saudi Arabia.
One of the fatalities is a 51-year-old man suffering from cancer and chronic diseases in Riyadh, who had earlier been diagnosed with MERS. The other was a 54 year-old citizen, also suffering from chronic diseases, who had been previously reported as infected with this virus.
The two new cases of infection were registered in the southwestern region of Asir.
They include a man aged 31 with chronic illnesses, and another, 55, who was in contact with an infected person, the ministry said. Both are being treated.
On Wednesday, two cases were found in Riyadh. The first is a 50-year-old Saudi woman afflicted with cancer and other chronic diseases. The second case is a 70-year-old resident with several chronic diseases. Both are in ICU.
Experts are struggling to understand MERS, for which there is still no vaccine and which has an extremely high fatality rate of more than 51 percent.
It is considered a cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.
Like SARS, MERS is thought to have jumped from animals to humans, and it shares the former’s flu-like symptoms — but differs by also causing kidney failure.


Saudi Arabia plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

Updated 51 min 19 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

  • More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year
  • Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty

JEDDAH: Tourism chiefs have been taking part in a major five-day Saudi campaign to help promote Indonesia as a top international holiday destination.
More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year.
From Feb. 11-15, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry has been working with its Consulate General in Jeddah to run a series of events in the Kingdom in a bid to boost the country’s tourist attractions.
Seventeen agencies representing Indonesia’s hotel, airline and travel industries participated in a business get-together with local Saudi tour operators, and around 70 prominent media figures were invited to the Pullman Hotel in Jeddah for a day of briefings on key Indonesian visitor destinations.
The last three days of the promotional program saw the Tourism Ministry and officials from top local destinations, take part in the Jeddah International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (JTTX), held at the Hilton Hotel.
Indonesia was one of the main sponsors of the event which has now been running for nine years.
Mohamad Hery Saripudin, the consul-general of Indonesia in Jeddah, said numerous innovative promotional breakthroughs had been made toward attracting more Saudi tourists to his country.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty.
Garuda, the national airline of Indonesia, has helped with the running of familiarization trips for journalists to several tourist hotspots, and other initiatives have seen free Indonesian language courses being offered to Saudis and expatriates.
R. Sigit Witjaksono, the director of tourism marketing for South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said Indonesia aimed to play host to 20 million visitors from throughout the world during 2019.
He noted that Indonesia welcomed 165,862 Saudi visitors in 2018, the highest total of any country in the Middle East.
As well as its natural delights, Indonesia is Islam-friendly, having thousands of mosques and offering products which are Shariah-compliant.