New MERS case in Oman, WHO confirms

The MERS virus (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 September 2017
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New MERS case in Oman, WHO confirms

DUBAI: The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a new case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Oman, the first in nine months.
The latest case to be reported is a 54-year-old man living in Al-Musanaa Batinah region, the WHO reported on its website.
“On 30 August 2017, the national IHR focal point of Oman reported one case of Middle East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV),” the report explains, adding: “The last report of MERS-CoV from Oman was on 29 November 2016.”
The report states that there are 2,080 “laboratory-confirmed cases” of MERS, including at least 722 related deaths, which have been reported to the WHO.
Now the Omani Ministry of Health in Oman is contacting family and health care workers at the hospitals where the patient was treated.
“Laboratory testing for symptomatic and high-risk family contacts, including health care workers is underway. Community members and those who have been in contact with the patient are being educated on infection prevention, mass gatherings, travel, and other related topics, following Oman MERS-CoV National Preparedness and Response Guidelines,” the statement adds.
The disease causes severe infections and has a high mortality rate. It was spread to humans through close direct or indirect contact with infected camels, according to the WHO.
Meanwhile transmission between humans has occurred mainly in health care settings.
The WHO warned that it believes more cases will be reported across the Middle East in the future and that this will also lead to the disease being exported to other countries.
The full WHO report can be found here.


Israel threatens to get tougher on Gaza after warplanes hit Hamas

The strikes targeting Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, were more intense than in previous sorties. AFP
Updated 37 min 27 sec ago
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Israel threatens to get tougher on Gaza after warplanes hit Hamas

  • Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel
  • The military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza

GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in a new flare-up of hostilities that saw dozens of rockets and mortar shells fired from the Palestinian enclave, the army said.
The strikes targeting Hamas’ military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, were more intense than in previous sorties to convey the message “we will not allow this situation to continue,” Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters.
The latest spike in tensions follows weeks of deadly protests and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border as well as the worst military escalation last month since a 2014 war.
It comes as US President Donald Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt and adviser Jared Kushner visit the region to discuss issues including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel from the Palestinian territory, the army said.
“They may look like toys but I can assure they are not toys, they are weapons intended to kill and to inflict damage,” Conricus said.
He said that so far Israel had sought to warn off those launching the airborne devices but that could change.
“Hamas and other militants, but mainly Hamas” hit back after the first air raids with more than 45 rockets and mortar rounds fired from Gaza toward Israel, seven of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, he added.
Three more landed inside the Jewish state, he said, but did not account for the remainder.
In response, Israeli planes carried out more raids against 25 “terror objectives” including an underground training compound, according to the army.
Gaza medical sources said that five people were lightly injured in the strikes.
In a joint statement, the military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza... in response to continued Israeli aggression against resistance sites in Gaza.”
Conricus said that most of the 200,000 Israeli civilians who live within range of the short-range rockets fired from Gaza “spent the night in bomb shelters.”