JEDDAH: FADIA JIFFRY
Published — Tuesday 15 April 2014
Last update 3 May 2014 2:04 pm
The Health Ministry has advised Jeddah’s residents to take precautionary measures against the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of 68 people and infected 189 since September 2012.
Pharmacies have noted a sudden frenetic rush, with residents flocking to purchase hand sanitizers, face masks and anything that can help keep them safe from the virus.
“The Ministry of Health along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and international experts is working on collecting more information about this deadly virus,” said Khalid Mirghalani, spokesman for the Ministry of Health.
“There is no vaccine for the virus so far,” he said. “But the MoH advises residents to avoid unnecessary panic and instead follow instructions and take precautionary measures to stay safe according to MOH guidelines.”
The Ministry of Health recently released a set of guidelines for protection and advised residents in the Kingdom to follow them.
The ministry’s set of precautionary measures obliged the use of face masks in crowded places, especially during Umrah and Haj, and to avoid contact with patients and their personal effects.
Further measures encouraged the continual washing of hands, the use of hand disinfectants, the use of paper towels to cough or sneeze and several others.
The guidelines also highlight signs and symptoms of the coronavirus infection, which include cough, fever, nose and throat congestion, shortness of breathing, and in some cases, diarrhea. In advanced cases, patients can suffer serious complications, such as severe pneumonia, which can lead to death.
Several schools in the Kingdom have been recording a high rate of student absenteeism, although the Ministry of Education denied the closure of schools, stating that “there is no coronavirus among students.”
The Ministry of Health said it is taking “all precautionary measures for persons who have been in contact with infected people and has taken samples from them to examine if they are infected.”
Meanwhile, several doctors and health experts in the Kingdom are conducting health awareness programs to create awareness and educate people on the prevention of the deadly virus.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), another term for the coronavirus, was first reported in the Kingdom in 2012.
The relatively high fatality rate is, however, attributed to other factors, such as old age or other medical conditions.