Fakeih: Containing MERS ‘top priority’

Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih

Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih

The Ministry of Health’s top priority is containment of the MERS corona virus, Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih told delegates at the 67th session of the World Health Assembly held in Geneva on Tuesday.

“We are working with international partner organizations, local and international clinical and research experts, and coordinating daily with the WHO to ensure that the most recent findings, studies and best practices are being shared among the countries in this global effort,” the minister told the assembly, the highest decision-making body at WHO.

Fakeih’s speech provided insight into the Health Ministry’s work with global health and scientific organizations and outlined the wide-ranging initiatives that have been introduced over the past months in the health sector.

He also emphasized his ministry’s collaboration with foreign governments to safeguard their citizens. He also explained the Kingdom’s experiences in organizing the annual Haj pilgrimage, which is attended by nearly three million pilgrims every year.

Meanwhile, the ministry reported two deaths and three new cases of the MERS coronavirus on Tuesday. The three new cases included two men, one each from Riyadh, Madinah and Taif.

The two men aged 29 and 35 in Riyadh and Madinah are being treated in a government hospital and at home respectively.

The 66-year-old woman patient in Taif is in the ICU of a government hospital. She is also suffering from acute diabetes and hypertension. The two deaths were among the earlier cases. Those who died included a 74-year-old female patient from Jeddah and a 72-year-old man in the capital.

The patients were also discharged from the hospitals in Jeddah and Riyadh following full recovery, health officials said.

Meanwhile, a man from Saudi Arabia who is one of three patients diagnosed with an infection from the Middle East respiratory virus in the United States has been released from a hospital in Orlando, Florida.

Officials from the state health department and Dr. P. Phillips Hospital said in a news release Monday that the 44-year-old unidentified man has been discharged.

They say the man has recovered from the virus and is now testing negative for Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS.

Officials say at least 20 health care workers at two Orlando hospitals came into contact with the man, and they have all tested negative, too.

A man in Indiana was the first US case of the MERS virus, and an Illinois man picked up a MERS-related infection from him.

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