Tag Archive | Saudi Arabia
More than 1,000 pilgrims have been evacuated and two have been injured during a fire at a hotel in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The incident occurred just six days after a deadly crane collapse at the pilgrimage site.
Saudi officials say the fire erupted on the eighth floor of the 11-story hotel in the city’s Aziziya neighborhood, Associated Press reports. Firefighters managed to rescue two injured pilgrims, with a further 1,000 being evacuated unharmed, the civil defense agency said.
Courtesy of rt.com
A fire at a residential complex in Saudi Arabia has left six people dead and injured at least 200 others, Saudi officials say.
They said multiple nationalities were among the injured – some critically.
The fire broke out at a site used to house workers for the oil giant Saudi Aramco in the eastern city of Khobar. The cause is unknown.
Some people were reportedly trapped on rooftops as helicopters battled to control the blaze.
Like many companies in Saudi Arabia, Aramco uses large numbers of migrant workers.
Saudi’s civil defence ministry tweeted: “Cars and furniture caught fire in the basement of one of the towers, heavy smoke billowed, obstructing rescue and firefighting operations.”
Aramco says it has begun an investigation into the cause.
Courtesy of BBC News
Saudi Arabia reported Sunday six new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome, the latest sign of a spreading viral disease ahead of an annual religious pilgrimage that brings millions of visitors to the country.
The surging number of cases—the largest since the peak of the last MERS outbreak in the summer of 2014—comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to welcome next month more than two million pilgrims to the Muslim holy city of Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage.
In addition, the threat of the viral disease spreading could increase as more than 5 million Saudi students resume school on Sunday after summer vacation.
“The Ministry of Health is working at full capacity to contain the current outbreak of the virus,” health minister Khalid al-Falih said Saturday on Twitter.
Abdulaziz bin Said, undersecretary for public health, said Sunday that infection control teams are now providing around the clock support to emergency wards at Riyadh hospitals.
MERS is a virus that can cause breathing problems, fever, pneumonia and kidney failure. It belongs to the same family of viruses as the common cold and SARS, which spread in Hong Kong and southern China in 2002 and 2003.
The kingdom is considering a ban on the practice of sacrificing camels and sharing their meat with the poor during hajj, a measure meant to stop the spread of the virus, which is believed to have begun by passing from infected camels to humans.
Saudi Arabia has been criticized in the past for what international health organizations called a slow and inadequate response leading to multiple outbreaks.
Since it first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012, the virus has infected 1,147 people, killing 487, according to the Saudi health ministry.
The focal point of the current outbreak, which began earlier this month, remains King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. The hospital’s emergency ward and outpatient clinics remained closed Sunday following the infection of a number of its workers and patients.
It has taken measures to limit the spread of the virus, postponing non emergency surgeries and slashing visitation hours. Hospital staff were told by the health ministry to delay any travel out of Riyadh for the next two weeks as a precautionary measure.
An expert from the World Health Organization is scheduled to arrive in the kingdom this week to meet with Saudi officials and assess the latest spike in infections.
Saudi health officials have said that the frequency of reported cases declined in 2014, after new measures were taken to fight the spread of MERS, including stricter enforcement of standard infection control procedures. Yet four health ministers have been replaced since 2012.
The World Health Organization said on Friday that it is monitoring the situation, but that it hasn’t placed any travel or trade restrictions on Saudi Arabia because of the disease.
South Korea was the latest country to report a major outbreak of MERS. Korean authorities declared its outbreak finished in July, after 186 people were infected, 36 killed and more than 16,000 quarantined.
Courtesy of wsj.com
South Korea reported two MERS fatalities and three new cases, taking the country’s death toll to 27 in the largest outbreak of the virus outside Saudi Arabia.
The two men – aged 84 and 87 – died from Sunday night to Monday morning of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the health ministry said, adding both had been battling cancer.
They were infected at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul and Daecheong hospital in the western city of Daejeon and were diagnosed on June 9 and 12, respectively.
The ministry also reported three more cases of the disease to bring the total number of those infected to 172, including 27 who have died.
The three included two patients at Samsung hospital and Konkuk University Medical Centre in Seoul and one caregiver at Daecheong hospital.
Samsung – a major hospital where more than 80 patients, families and medical workers have been infected – suspended most services on June 14 to stem the spread of the virus.
Fourteen patients were in critical condition, the ministry said, adding 50 people had recovered and were released from hospital so far, including seven from Saturday to Sunday.
The spread of the virus has slowed since the first two weeks of June, when the number of patients often grew by double digits including a daily record of 23 on June 7.
On Saturday the authorities reported no new cases for the first time in 16 days.
The outbreak began on May 20 when a 68-year-old man was diagnosed after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia.
Since then the potentially deadly virus had spread at an unusually rapid pace, sparking public alarm that prompted the temporary closure of thousands of schools and trip cancellations by more than 120,000 foreign tourist.
Most schools have reopened except for five in Gyeonggi province surrounding Seoul, the southern port of Busan and the southeastern city of Daegu.
Courtesy of thestandard.com.hk
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has killed 10 more people in Saudi Arabia over the past week, raising health officials’ concern about containment of the deadly virus.
Data from Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry demonstrate that the death toll has surged above 400, with the latest deaths occurring between February 27 and March 5.
According to health officials, the virus killed 30 people in February alone, six of whom died in Riyadh.
A total of 936 cases have been reported since the virus was identified in 2012, with 402 of them leading to death.
On March 4, the Saudi Health Ministry announced an expansion of a public education campaign to halt the spread of MERS-CoV.
Social media, television, radio, print, and text messages are used to propagate the belief that “We can stop it.”
The campaign was launched after an international team of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, conducted a mission to investigate the surge in MERS cases.
Officials from the international team said on February 23 that “efforts to educate professionals and the public are urgently needed.”
According to the WHO, the preliminary results of studies indicate that people working with camels are at increased risk of infection from MERS-CoV, and particularly juvenile camels are susceptible.
MERS, a respiratory disease which can cause severe pneumonia, was first discovered in September 2012 in a Qatari man who had traveled to the kingdom.
In early February, Abdul Aziz bin Saeed, the head of the center coordinating the Health Ministry’s response to MERS, warned that MERS cases suddenly increase around this time of year, when there are more young camels circulating.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, which is worst hit by the virus, MERS has been reported in more than 20 other countries. Most of the reported cases have been linked to the Middle East. However, some Persian Gulf states, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain have been also affected by the virus.
The disease, which causes coughing, fever and pneumonia, does not appear to be as contagious as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which infected over 8,000 people and killed about 10 percent of them more than a decade ago.
Courtesy of Press TV
Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry says two more people have died after contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS, pushing the total number of deaths from the virus in the kingdom to 385.
The ministry’s statement on Saturday says that 902 cases of MERS have been discovered in Saudi Arabia since the virus was first identified in 2012, though 490 people who contracted it have recovered.
Some 57 people have contracted MERS in the kingdom since the start of February.
The virus has affected people in other parts of the world, but has mostly remained centered in Saudi Arabia. MERS belongs to a family of viruses known as corona viruses that include both the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.
Courtesy of ABC News
Saudi Arabia said late Wednesday that the country’s health care system has detected six new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, or MERS, in 24 hours. The latest figure comes as the biggest jump for the deadly virus in months.
Officials blamed lax hospital procedures for the spread of the virus, which has affected 32 people this month. The sudden spread of the virus has mostly been noted in the capital city of Riyadh and the western city of Taif, about 500 miles away. The country had seen another deadly outbreak of the virus in April and May, which affected hundreds of people. The virus has so far mostly affected Saudi Arabia, which has recorded 786 cases of whom 334 have died, Reuters reported.
“The secret here of success is not to prevent the cases to be introduced to the community… the success is to control the transmission within health facilities,” Abdulaziz bin Saeed, undersecretary for public health, said, according to Reuters.
Three hospitals in Taif have been affected while two of the newer cases were seen in medical personnel, raising concerns about the level of protection being followed at medical facilities. Some of the affected people are being treated at a renal clinic in Taif, which has allegedly been responsible for some of the transmissions, a senior health ministry official said, according to Reuters.
According to studies conducted by scientists, the origin of the disease has been linked to camels and is suspected of being transmitted to humans by close physical contact with the animals, or by consuming camel meat or milk.
“The available evidence indicates that camels transmit MERS-CoV to humans, who then infect each other through direct contact with droplets that contain the virus,” Anees Sindi, deputy chief of the country’s Command and Control Center, said, according to Arab News, a local news agency.
MERS, which was identified in 2012, leads to heavy coughing, fever and sometimes pneumonia, and has a death rate of about 40 percent. The virus has affected people in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia in the past, but has been found mostly in people who had traveled to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, two people who returned to Jakarta, Indonesia, from the religious pilgrimage of Hajj have reportedly contracted the MERS virus and are being treated in hospitals in the city, Jakarta Post, a local newspaper, reported. Health officials said that the married couple is undergoing intensive treatment, while doctors await further lab tests from a local health care agency in Jambi province, about 544 miles north of Jakarta.