Deputy Health Minister for Public Health Abdul Aziz Saeed says the coming weeks will witness an increased number of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus cases because of unfavorable weather forecasts.
Saeed confirmed the ministry has made the necessary preparations to deal with the expected cases.
“Up to this moment, no MERS cases were registered among the health staff and medical practitioners at Saudi hospitals in 2015. All the infected cases were the result of community infections and not from hospitals,” he said.
The minister said a team from the World Health Organization (WHO) will visit the Kingdom during the next few days to assess the general situation here and offer the necessary directions to deal with the virus.
“The ministry has hired international experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work throughout the year on a program to investigate the reasons for infectious and noninfectious diseases, and offer training to Saudi experts in the field of epidemiology,” he added.
He did not dismiss the fears of the Ministry of existing infected cases of MERs among health practitioners. “This fear prompted the ministry to stress the importance of adhering to the strict controls when dealing with infectious cases. The ministry has warned them against being lenient with such issues.”
He called on health institutions to adhere to the official medical directions in this regard, apply the preventive health measures, commit to the basic directions to combat infections and contaminations, isolate respiratory infections in the emergency divisions and use personal protection tools in accordance with the directions given by the control and command center at the Ministry of Health.
Saeed confirmed the ministry was from the very beginning clarifying the facts regarding MERS.
This comes following the announcement of the ministry that it has recorded 11 new cases of corona virus infections since the beginning of this February — two in Hofuf, one in Dammam, two in Al-Kharj, five in Riyadh and one in Najran, all cases got the virus from hospitals outside the Kingdom.
The ministry stressed the importance of prevention, calling on citizens to adhere to cleanliness and safety measures, including washing the hands with soap, avoid contact will sick people, avoid touching the eyes and nose, to cough using a tissue and try as much as possible to avoid dealing with infected camels.
The ministry also called on persons who suffer from chronic diseases to avoid mixing with camels or drink milk without boiling it and to maintain safe and healthy eating habits.
Workers at health institutions should also apply strict preventive measures in general.
Currently there are 15 corona virus cases being treated at the Kingdom’s hospitals, including the 11 new cases.
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