Woman dies of MERS in Riyadh, raising toll to 683

Health care workers are advised to use stringent infection prevention and control measures when treating patients. This includes washing hands before and after contact with patients, and wearing a mask, eye protection, gown and gloves when treating probable or confirmed MERS cases.
Updated 14 July 2017

Woman dies of MERS in Riyadh, raising toll to 683

RIYADH: A 76-year-old Saudi woman died of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) in Riyadh on Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths due to the virus to 683.
According to an official from the Ministry of Health, the deceased did not have any previous illnesses, nor did she have any contacts with camels.
The patient was treated at a government hospital in Huweiyah, located some 175 km southwest of Riyadh.
Since July 2012, 1,677 patients have been infected by MERS in all parts of the Kingdom. They included 683 deaths, 987 recoveries and seven patients currently under treatment.
Dr. Shin Young-soo, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for the Western Pacific, advised continued vigilance for any new cases of MERS through early detection and a rapid-response system.
Health care workers are advised to use stringent infection prevention and control measures when treating patients. This includes washing hands before and after contact with patients, and wearing a mask, eye protection, gown and gloves when treating probable or confirmed MERS cases.
Health care workers should note the travel history of people showing symptoms of the virus.
Most MERS patients develop severe to acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. About four out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died.
There are three major hospitals in Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah that have been designated as centers to treat MERS patients. In addition to these facilities, the ministry has assigned 20 additional well-equipped hospitals to deal with infected cases.
The ministry has issued warnings for people to stay away from camels. Those who are working on farms have been advised to take maximum precautions against the virus by wearing face masks, isolating infected animals and following basic hygiene principles.
As a general precaution, anyone visiting farms, markets, barns or other places where animals are present should practice general hygiene measures, including regular hand-washing before and after contact with animals, and avoiding sick animals.


It was Russia, not Saudi Arabia, that pulled out of OPEC+ deal: Saudi ministers

Updated 04 April 2020

It was Russia, not Saudi Arabia, that pulled out of OPEC+ deal: Saudi ministers

  • Saudi foreign and energy ministers say Moscow's claim that Kingdom withdrew from the OPEC+ deal was unfounded
  • They said it was Russia that abandoned the agreement, leading to a collapse in world oil prices

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's foreign and energy ministers on Saturday denied Russia's claim that the Kingdom abandoned the OPEC+ deal, leading to a collapse in world oil prices.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said "a statement attributed to one of the media of President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation claimed that one of the reasons for the decline in oil prices was the Kingdom's withdrawal from the deal of OPEC + and that the Kingdom was planning to get rid of shale oil producers."

"The minister affirmed that what was mentioned is fully devoid of truth and that the withdrawal of the Kingdom from the agreement is not correct," the statement said.

In fact Saudi Arabia and 22 other countries tried to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the deal, but Russia did not agree, it said.

Prince Farhan expressed surprise that Russia had to resort to "falsifying facts" when Saudi Arabia's stance on shale oil production is known, the statement said.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is one of the main investors in the energy sector in United States, implying that there is no reason for the Kingdom "to get rid of shale oil producers" as Russia has claimed.

He further said the Kingdom "is also seeking to reach more cuts and achieve oil market equilibrium for the interest of shale oil producers."

OPEC+ refers to the cooperation between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers. The cooperation deal which called for cuts in production by the producers was meant to stabilize oil prices. 

In a separate statement, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman rejected Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak’s similar claim that the Kingdom refused to extend the OPEC+ deal and withdrew from it.

Novak "was the first to declare to the media that all the participating countries are absolved of their commitments starting from the first of April," Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement.

He said Novak's statement led other countries to decide "to raise their production to offset the lower prices and compensate for their loss of returns." 

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of oil exporters after US President Donald Trump said he expected the Kingdom and Russia to cut production by 10-15 million barrels per day.

Prince Farhan said he was "hoping that Russia would take the right decisions in the urgent meeting" so that a "fair agreement that restores the desired balance of oil markets" could be achieved.

The global oil market has crashed, with prices falling to $34 a barrel from $65 at the beginning of the year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fuel demand has dropped by roughly a third, or 30 million barrels per day, as billions of people worldwide restrict their movements.

A global deal to reduce production by as much as 10 million to 15 million barrels per day would require participation from nations that do not exert state control over output, including the United States, now the world’s largest producer of crude.

A meeting of OPEC and allies such as Russia has been scheduled for April 6, but details were thin on the exact distribution of production cuts. No time has yet been set for the meeting, OPEC sources said.