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MERS toll rises to 405

Two more deaths due to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus were reported on Monday bringing the total number of fatal victims to 405 out of the 941 cases in the Kingdom.
The victims include an 83-year-old man in the capital and a 30-year-old expatriate in Hunaizah. Besides these cases, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported two Saudis in Hofuf and Riyadh who were infected with the virus.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health reported 19 MERS cases during a period of seven days ending on Friday.
According to a report made available to Arab News on Sunday, the victims were 11 males and eight females aged between 30 to 70 years. They included 16 cases from the capital, two from Al-Qassim and one from Jeddah.
Among the 19 victims of the virus were, 11 Saudis, two Filipinos, one each from India, Sudan, Pakistani and Yemen, and two Bangladeshis.
During this period, the Rapid Response Team paid 18 field visits to attend to complaints regarding virus patients. The Ministry of Agriculture, meanwhile, has reported three cases of virus infections from camels.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health launched the new phase of its health awareness campaign on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) under the theme “We Can Stop It.”
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khalid Al-Mirghalani said the new phase of the public education campaign was launched on electronic, print and social media such as Twitter and Facebook and through short text messages sent to the mobile phone users highlighting its theme. He hoped such a campaign would help prevent the spread of the virus
Under its Youtube program, the MoH has elaborated its messages on fighting the MERS virus in general, the advantages of using face mask in the prevention of this virus, personal hygiene and special advice to people who are dealing with camels, which is firmly believed to be one of the sources of the virus.
Intensified efforts to fight against the virus was launched in adherence to the directives of the World Health Organizations and other global agencies urging the Kingdom to exert more efforts in its health education awareness campaign against the spread of the disease.
Al-Mirghalani also said that the ministry has opened a 24-hour hotline (937) to help the members of the public on any matters related to the MERS disease. He pointed out that the caller will be assured of his privacy and the authorities would offer their services as required by the callers through this line.
The official explained that there are three major hospitals in Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah that have been designated as centers of excellence to treat MERS patients. In addition to these facilities, he said the ministry has assigned 20 more well-equipped hospitals in all the health regions to look after MERS patients.
The spokesman said that the program is being carried out under the direct supervision of Health Minister Dr. Ahmed Al-Khateeb.

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