MERS kills three more, toll hits 457

Updated 18 June 2015

MERS kills three more, toll hits 457

RIYADH: The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) corona virus claimed the lives of three people on Monday and Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 457 in the Kingdom.
The deceased included two Saudi men from Hofuf and Thurabah respectively. The Kingdom has now dealt with 1,034 cases. There are nine people receiving treatment at local hospitals.
Sri Lankan medical experts have taken steps to conduct medical checks on passengers arriving at the Bandaranaike International Airport from Monday.
Palitha Maheepala, director general health services, said that the Health Ministry had set up special medical units at the airport to test passengers from South Korea and west Asian countries.
Maheepala said the first confirmed case had been reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It was not certain whether the infections were due to a single zoonotic event with subsequent human-to-human transmission or whether there were multiple geographic sites of infection representing multiple zoonotic events from an unknown source, he said.
He said the evidence available to date suggests that the virus had been present in bats for some time and spread to camels by the mid 1990s. The virus appeared to have spread from camels to humans in the early part of the decade, he said.
People with underlying health conditions such as heart conditions, diabetes, kidney diseases, respiratory diseases, and the elderly should avoid close animal contact when visiting farms and markets, Maheepala said.
Health Ministry Spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani said the ministry has opened a 24-hour hotline on 937 to help the members of the public on any matters related to the MERS disease. He said callers would be assured of confidentiality.
He said 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 hospitals in all the regions to look after patients.


Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.