Saudi, S. Korean experts join hands to fight MERS

Updated 16 June 2015

Saudi, S. Korean experts join hands to fight MERS

RIYADH: Health experts from Saudi Arabia and their South Korean counterparts have joined hands to combat the dreaded MERS outbreak in the Far East Asian country, where 16 people have succumbed to the contagion so far.

Five new cases were reported by the Korean Health Ministry on Monday, taking the total to 150, the largest outbreak outside of Saudi Arabia.
Jungho Lee, a senior diplomat and spokesman at the embassy of the Republic of Korea in Riyadh, told Arab News on Monday that Saudi health experts were in Seoul and were working in close coordination with local health workers to fight the disease.
“Having a sophisticated health system, Korea exports medical technologies to the Kingdom and helps in various health care projects. Now, as Saudi Arabia has accumulated solid experience and knowledge in dealing with MERS since its outbreak in June 2012, it is but natural for the Kingdom and the Republic of South Korea to strengthen collaboration in this field,” he said.
Earlier, Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih had offered help to his South Korean counterpart, Moon Hyung-pyo, in the form of Saudi health experts with experience in tackling MERS cases.
The MERS outbreak in South Korea has sparked off international concern and stalled the nation’s economy. According to the Korean ministry of finance, it has resulted in over 100,000 canceled tourist visits.
Jungho said that the Saudi Health Ministry delegation reached Seoul on June 11 and on June 12. “Experts from both the countries held a joint workshop to discuss the outbreak in Korea and the Kingdom, which has recorded the highest number of MERS cases, crossing 1,000 confirmed infections and 454 deaths till Monday.
The first MERS case was reported in South Korea on May 20, when a businessman, who had returned from a tour to the Gulf countries including the Kingdom, testing positive.
Meanwhile, a Korean citizen was hospitalized in Slovakia after being suspected of carrying the MERS virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the MERS outbreak in South Korea, which it described as “large and complex.”


This Lebanese food shop is providing meals for Beirut blast victims

Updated 51 min 36 sec ago

This Lebanese food shop is providing meals for Beirut blast victims

DUBAI: On the night of the Beirut port blasts, which killed 154 civilians and injured thousands on August 4, Lebanese food shop owner Nabil Khoury and his brother decided to launch one of the very first initiatives for distributing packaged meals to those impacted by the catastrophe. Within a week, more than 3,000 meals have been cooked in the kitchen of Khoury’s vegetarian delicatessen, “Dry & Raw.”

In an Instagram post, the company shared: “We are all one in this. This is the least we can do for you, for us and for our country.”

With the help of staff and numerous young volunteers, along with Khoury’s loyal clients (who generously donated meat and poultry), a variety of hot meals incorporating carbohydrates and proteins, sandwiches and salads have been distributed to many, including selfless medical doctors, volunteers and families in need.

“With the donations, I cannot tell you how much people love to help each other — it’s overwhelming,” Khoury, 45, told Arab News.

He collaborated with the Lebanese Red Cross, the Lebanese Food Bank and local NGO Hot Pot Meal to deliver food to different parts of Beirut, such as Gemmayze, Mar Mikhael and Karantina, which were all severely damaged by the explosions.

“No picture or video could describe the damage that has occurred,” he explained, adding how the country was already suffering from an economic meltdown and the coronavirus pandemic. “In the early hours, people were busy helping each other, takingothers to hospitals, and burying the dead. But now, they are very angry at the whole system. Our government has resigned, but this is not the solution — the whole corrupt system has to step down. This explosion broke the last bone in our back.”

Having previously worked for NGOs, Khoury opened “Dry & Raw” in February 2020; a few months after the October uprising that witnessed nationwide anti-government protests.

Encouraging local food production, Khoury claims the conceptual shop is the “first of its kind” in Lebanon, offering organic, vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian foods, which have been produced in-house.

In addition, select produce is grown at the shop’s own farm.

Khoury recalled: “People criticized the fact that we opened the shop in the midst of an economic crisis, but we said: ‘This is the future and we should really start local production now’.”