MERS claims 94th victim; 3 specialist centers set up

Updated 28 April 2014

MERS claims 94th victim; 3 specialist centers set up

The Health Ministry announced on Saturday seven new deaths from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, taking the country’s death toll to 94.
A statement said that 24 new cases of MERS were detected in the Kingdom, bringing the total to 323 since the virus first emerged there in September 2012.
Among the five who died were two elderly Palestinians and a Bangladeshi woman in her 40s, the statement said. The two other victims were Saudis.
Meanwhile, the ministry has declared three medical centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province as specialist centers for the MERS treatment, said Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih in a statement on Saturday.
The King Abdullah Medical Complex in Jeddah, with its advanced medical facilities, will be a major hub for dealing with the coronavirus.
Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh and the Dammam Medical Complex will also be used for this purpose, Fakeih said.
“The three centers can accommodate 146 patients in their ICUs in total isolation from other patients and are equipped with the most modern machinery and laboratories,” said the minister. “They also have excellent outpatient clinics.”
Other emergency steps planned by the ministry to contain the threat of the killer disease include preventive and curative measures, the minister said.
“The ministry is studying all other options to fight this threat. More specialist centers for MERS treatment will be announced later,” he added.
In another development, Egypt has discovered its first MERS case in an Egyptian citizen who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia.
The patient, 27, is being treated for pneumonia at a Cairo hospital and is in a stable condition, the Egyptian Ministry of Health said.
The man, who is from the Nile Delta, was living in Riyadh, the ministry said.
A spokesman for the WHO in Geneva said on Friday it was “concerned” about the rising MERS numbers in Saudi Arabia and called for a speedy scientific breakthrough about the virus and its route of infection.


Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

Updated 6 min 54 sec ago

Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

  • In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police
  • Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

BAGHDAD: Dozens of Iraqi protestors were wounded in Baghdad and other cities on Monday in clashes with security forces who were trying to clear blocked roads, security and medical sources said, as anti-government unrest resumed after a lull of several weeks.

In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protestors threw petrol bombs and stones at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, Reuters witnesses said.

Elsewhere in southern Iraq, hundreds of protestors burned tires and blocked main roads in several cities, including Nassiriya, Kerbala and Amara. They say Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not fulfilled promises including naming a new government acceptable to Iraqis.

“They (security forces) should stop shooting and aiming, who are they and who we are? Both sides are Iraqis. So why are you killing your brothers?” said one woman protestor in Baghdad who declined to give her name.

Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, with mostly young protesters demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and as keeping most Iraqis in poverty. More than 450 people have been killed.

Numbers had dwindled but protests resumed last week as demonstrators sought to keep up momentum after attention turned to the threat of a US-Iran conflict following Washington’s killing of Tehran’s top general in an air strike inside Iraq.

The killing of Qassem Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases, has highlighted the influence of some foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.