2 more Saudis die of MERS coronavirus

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Updated 15 October 2013
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2 more Saudis die of MERS coronavirus

RIYADH: Two more Saudis have died of the MERS coronavirus, raising death toll from the respiratory disease in the Kingdom to 51, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
The latest fatalities, both men aged 78 and 55, were suffering from other chronic diseases, the ministry said on its website.
The report did not specify when the deaths occurred, saying only that both were from Riyadh.
Two more infections were also reported, bringing to 119 the number of people infected in the kingdom, the ministry said.
Worldwide, MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, has so far claimed 58 lives since it was first discovered by scientists in September last year.
The other deaths were reported in Tunisia, France, Britain, France and Jordan.
Experts are struggling to understand MERS, for which there is no vaccine. It has also caused worries
as Saudi Arabia prepares to host some two million Muslim pilgrims for the annual Haj, which begins on Sunday.
Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeea, however, noted that authorities have not yet recorded any MERS cases among pilgrims arriving from all over the world.
“So far, no case of any epidemic has been recorded among the pilgrims, especially the coronavirus,” he said.
Health authorities in Makkah, where the pilgrims will be concentrated, have expressed optimism that the Haj will pass off without any outbreak, given that Muslims also go on lower-level pilgrimages throughout the year and there has been no mass spread of MERS.
as part of precautionary measures, authorities have urged the elderly and chronically ill to avoid the Haj and for pilgrims to wear face masks.
MERS is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died, and sowed economic chaos.
Like SARS, MERS is believed to have jumped from animals to humans. It shares the former’s flu-like symptoms, but differs by also causing kidney failure.

(Additional input from Agence France Presse)


Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show

Updated 11 September 2018
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Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show

  • More than 80 artists will take the stage at the King Fahd International Stadium for the show
  • About 250 costumes have been specially made to respect local traditions

MONTREAL: Cirque du Soleil will stage a show in Saudi Arabia for the first time later this month, the high-flying acrobatic troupe announced Monday.
The show will take place in the Saudi capital on Sept. 23 to coincide with the country's national day, public relations director Marie-Helene Lagace told AFP.
More than 80 artists will take the stage at the King Fahd International Stadium for the show, which will also be shown on Saudi state television. Cirque says it will be one of its biggest one-off productions ever.
About 250 costumes have been specially made to respect local traditions and conform to "the artistic standards for which we are known," Lagace said.
The announcement of Cirque du Soleil's appearance in Saudi Arabia was first made in Los Angeles in April, Lagace noted. But it was unclear whether the show would go on given the diplomatic tensions.
At the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has reopened movie theaters and allowed women and men to attend some concerts together.