Mideast Zika-free zone, but vulnerable: WHO

Updated 09 February 2016

Mideast Zika-free zone, but vulnerable: WHO

RIYADH: The Eastern Mediterranean Office (EMRO) of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday announced that the region is considered a Zika virus-free zone.

Dr. Alaa Alwan, the regional director of EMRO, said that it does not mean that Middle Eastern countries are not vulnerable to the mosquito-borne disease. “The presence of mosquitoes in a number of countries in the Middle East goes for the possibility.”
However, WHO is closely working with regional ministries of health to curb mosquitoes and strengthen disease-monitoring mechanisms.
Faisal Al-Zahrani, spokesman of the Ministry of Health (MoH), told Arab News that a special type of mosquito carries the Zika virus. “Mosquitoes in Jazan spread the Rift Valley fever, while those in Jeddah spread dengue, which have been successfully brought under control,” he said, adding that the environment in these two regions are not conducive for such mosquitoes.
“We do not have swamps where such mosquitoes can breed,” he said.
Al- Zahrani said the carrier of the disease, Aedes aegypti mosquito, usually bites in the early morning hours and during sunset.
Noting that the signs and symptoms are similar to infections with viruses such as Rift Valley fever and dengue, he said symptoms include fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pains, malaise and headache.
Currently, he said there is an incidence of the virus in Latin American countries.
However, he added that the MoH has taken preventive methods to keep the virus out of the Kingdom. “We have alerted the quarantine departments at the Kingdom’s land, sea and air gateways to monitor passengers who come into the Kingdom.”
Al-Zahrani said the MoH has already taken possible preventive measures against the virus. “We have instructed aviation authorities to spray disinfectants in aircraft that are likely to carry germs because of the passengers from endemic countries,” he said.
The MoH is also coordinating with local authorities to take all preventive measures in all parts of the Kingdom, especially in places which are home to mosquitoes.


Saudi Arabia reports 32 new COVID-19 deaths

Updated 03 August 2020

Saudi Arabia reports 32 new COVID-19 deaths

  • There have been a further 1,972 recoveries from COVID-19

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday announced 1,258 new coronavirus cases and 32 new deaths from the disease.
The new cases reported in the Kingdom increase the total number of people who have contracted the virus to 280,093. 

The recent fatalities raise the Kingdom’s virus-related death toll to 2,949. 

According to the Ministry of Health, 89 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, while there were 75 reported in Al-Hufoof and 65 in Dammam.

There have been a further 1,972 recoveries from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries to 242,053.