Special quarantine units for MERS patients urged



JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

Published — Saturday 12 April 2014

Last update 13 April 2014 12:25 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

The Ministry of Health should launch special emergency procedures to stop the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus by setting up special quarantine facilities to treat suspected and infected people, says an expert.
“In light of the new outbreak of MERS cases we have to change the emergency plan and set up special camps to receive and isolate suspected cases,” said Mohammed Al-Harbi, a specialist at King Abdul Aziz Hospital, which saw the death of a male nurse from the virus.
Al-Harbi said the ministry has three options: To establish an isolation camp for all patients in one place; have isolation wards in every hospital; or set aside an entire hospital specifically to treat MERS cases.
“Taking suspected cases into hospitals in a haphazard manner will only lead to the spread of the disease,” he said.
He said MERS was initially found among the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases but was now affecting young people.
“This is a dangerous sign,” the specialist said.
His comments follow the announcement of new cases of MERS infections, despite the health ministry’s efforts to sterilize emergency wards at King Fahd and King Abdul Aziz hospitals in the city.
According to a local daily, the head of a medical department at King Fahd Hospital has been affected, while a Pakistani doctor suspected to have the virus has been reported at King Abdul Aziz Hospital.
It also reported the death of a 40-year-old Saudi man at a private hospital on Thursday, bringing the total number of MERS deaths to three in Jeddah and 67 in the Kingdom.
According to informed sources, the number of visitors to King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah declined by 55 percent after reports of people there infected with the virus.
Saudi nurses have meanwhile urged the Health Ministry to take steps to ensure their protection.
They said the ministry was biased toward doctors, ignoring their plight.
MBC’s “Bidun Shak” (Without Doubt) talk show hosted by Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, editor in chief of Arab News, addressed the issue in its latest episode.
Speaking during the forum, Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said he supports nurses’ right to get compensation for dealing with MERS and other infectious diseases.
“I will take up the matter with relevant authorities to get your rights,” the minister said.
Khaled Mirghalani, spokesman of the ministry, said the King Fahd Hospital emergency ward has been reopened and all medical staff members had returned to work.
One Arabic daily, however, reported that there was a noticeable absence of staff after the head of a medical department became infected.
Deputy Health Minister Mohammad Khashim said the ministry has isolated six people that tested positive for the virus.
He said 90 percent of coronavirus carriers do not show symptoms, with only laboratory tests being able to make accurate diagnoses.
“All tested samples that came back positive have been published on the ministry’s website,” he said, stressing that the ministry’s preventive programs are linked to the World Health Organization.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: A power failure at the King Fahd Causeway on Wednesday night resulted in a massive traffic congestion, even as officials failed to explain the cause of the snag, local media reported.A power outage for 74 minutes on the link between the Kin...
JEDDAH: A female Saudi lawyer was able to get a stay order on a ruling by the general court in Jeddah that awarded custody of a two-year-old girl to her father. She successfully argued to get the court order reversed that gave custody back to the mot...
JEDDAH: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) said that combating harassment cases is part of its responsibility to promote Islamic values and morals in society.“Those harassing women will be brought to book,” s...
RIYADH: A thick layer of sand covered the city’s skyline on Saturday with a heavy blanket of dust caused by strong winds hampering visibility and creating traffic snarls on busy roads.The traffic department advised motorists to drive slowly and exerc...
JEDDAH: More than 26 million Umrah pilgrims and worshippers visited the Grand Mosque during the month of Ramadan and in the first few days after Eid Al-Fitr, thanks to a smooth transport arrangement under the guidance of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-...
AL-AHSA: An outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) has been discovered in cattle in Al-Ahsa which is an area with many cows. All necessary measures have been taken to protect the livestock, said Mahmoud Al-Shuaibi of the Agriculture Department in Al-Ah...
RIYADH: An architectural masterpiece — the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center (KAHC) — in Riyadh is a huge complex dedicated solely to collecting, preserving, promoting and showcasing the history and heritage of Saudi Arabia. The KAHC is a three milli...
RIYADH: The Saudi Blind Society (Kafif) has made all preparations for the three-day workshop for the blind to be held here next week and attended by delegates from various Asian countries.Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Shuwaiman, Kafif director general, th...
JEDDAH: The number of Saudis who took early retirement schemes last year stood at 38,647, the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has said. The Eastern Provinces got the lion's share of disbursements for retirees, amounting to SR3.8 bill...
JEDDAH: Meat and poultry topped the list of food items seized by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) at the border crossings for violating the health standards in the last two months.Approximately 267,137 kg of unfit meat and poultry were reject...
JEDDAH: Many sponsors and workers of small companies are struggling to get a comparatively cheaper health cover for renewal of iqama (residential permit) as the insurance companies have stopped issuing the same.The passport department has made it com...
RIYADH: Police have detained 11 Indonesian nationals, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah for Umrah a few days back.The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry is working closely with the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah to assist the group of citizen...
JEDDAH: The National Committee for Bakeries at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) said this Haj season would see no shortage in supplies of bakery items.The committee said there was need to increase operational labor by about 20 percent.It confirmed...
LONDON: Members of Osama Bin Laden’s family were among four people who died when a private jet crashed in Britain, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in London said on Saturday.The Saudi-registered plane plowed into a car auction site and burst into flames in so...
JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...

Stay Connected

Facebook