• MERS claims 94th victim in Saudi Arabia

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    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: The Health Ministry announced on Saturday (early Sunday in Manila) seven new deaths from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), taking the country’s death toll to 94.

    A statement said that 24 new cases of MERS were detected in the Kingdom, bringing the total to 323 since the virus first emerged there in September 2012.

    Among the five who died were two elderly Palestinians and a Bangladeshi woman in her 40s, the statement said. The two other victims were Saudis.

    Meanwhile, the ministry has declared three medical centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province as specialist centers for the MERS treatment, said acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih in a statement on Saturday.

    The King Abdullah Medical Complex in Jeddah, with its advanced medical facilities, will be a major hub for dealing with the coronavirus.

    Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh and the Dammam Medical Complex will also be used for this purpose, Fakeih said.

    “The three centers can accommodate 146 patients in their ICUs [intensive care units]in total isolation from other patients and are equipped with the most modern machinery and laboratories,” said the minister.

    “They also have excellent outpatient clinics,” he added.

    Other emergency steps planned by the ministry to contain the threat of the killer disease include preventive and curative measures, the minister said.

    “The ministry is studying all other options to fight this threat. More specialist centers for MERS treatment will be announced later,” he added.

    In another development, Egypt has discovered its first MERS case in an Egyptian citizen who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia.

    The patient, 27, is being treated for pneumonia at a Cairo hospital and is in a stable condition, the Egyptian Ministry of Health said.

    The man, who is from the Nile Delta, was living in Riyadh, the ministry said.

    A spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva said on Friday it was “concerned” about the rising MERS numbers in Saudi Arabia and called for a speedy scientific breakthrough about the virus and its route of infection.

    MCT

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