In MERS scare, hospitals lose business to pharmacies
Many residents here are avoiding hospitals because they fear contracting the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Waleed Al-Suhail, director general of Al-Jedaani Hospital in the Safa neighborhood, admitted that there has been a 70 percent drop in patients and visitors since the latest MERS outbreak.
However, Al-Suhail rejected rumors circulating on social networking sites and in local newspapers that some patients and staff of the hospital have been infected with the virus.
He confirmed that many Jeddah residents prefer these days to go to pharmacies because there are no crowds. Doctors have indicated that people are more likely to get the virus in crowded places.
Ahmad Abbas, a pharmacist, told Arab News that many more people have been coming to his pharmacy recently for medicines because they are afraid of going to hospitals.
“The virus is airborne and spreads through breathing in crowded places. But people make the mistake of going to pharmacies to buy their medicines. Some medicines can affect individuals negatively,” he said.
A customer at a pharmacy here, Ahmad Abdul Azim, said people are afraid to go to hospitals, especially emergency rooms. “People tend to avoid crowded places such as hospitals because they don’t want to get the virus,” he said.
Abdulrahman Al-Adwani, a customer, said people are risking their lives by going to pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor.