Via the Saudi Gazette, a reasonable extensive report on a hell of a day: MERS claims one more life in Jeddah; 5 new cases reported. Excerpt:
A Saudi man has died of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Jeddah, where authorities have sought to calm fears over the spreading respiratory illness, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry said five more people were infected with the MERS-coronavirus, including two medics, all in Jeddah.
The latest death of a 52-year-old brings to 71 the total number of people to have died from MERS, out of 205 infections in Saudi Arabia, it added. Health authorities on Tuesday reported the death of a 59-year-old, also in Jeddah, as well as four other infections in the same city, including three medics.
The Ministry of Health officials discussed on Wednesday with experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) the latest situation of MERS coronavirus in the Kingdom. In a video conference, members of the National Committee for Contagious Diseases (NCCD) urged the WHO experts to visit the Kingdom to attend a scheduled consultative meeting in Riyadh by the end of this month.
The WHO experts in Geneva and Cairo have been reassured that the procedures taken against the virus are in line with the nature of the disease. Members of the committee said that there has been consistent and continuous coordination with WHO in tackling the situation.
The Ministry of Health has supplied the WHO with details of MERS patients. As of mid-March, at least 37 cases have been confirmed from among the samples taken from 2,517 people suspected of contracting the virus at five hospitals in Jeddah region. There were seven cases of death reported in Jeddah due to the virus.
Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said that new six MERS cases have been reported in Jeddah, and these included three Saudis and three expatriates. He noted that NCCD recommended conducting a massive national epidemic survey as part of measures to contain the disease.
Meanwhile, a Malaysian man who went on Umrah has become the first death in Asia from MERS, while the Philippines has isolated a health worker who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
Malaysia’s Health Ministry said the man returned to Malaysia on March 29 and developed a high fever and cough and had difficulty breathing more than a week later. The man, a 54-year-old from southern Johor state neighboring Singapore, died on Sunday in a hospital, it said on Wednesday.
“Investigations showed that the cause of death is severe pneumonia secondary to MERS-CoV,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry urged all passengers travelling with the victim on Turkish Airlines on March 29 to report for health checks. It said it was also checking on people who have been in close contact with the man.
In the Philippines, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the Filipino health worker had a positive blood test for the virus but showed no symptoms.
The man had personal contact with another Filipino hospital worker who died of the virus last week in the United Arab Emirates. Blood test results were released in the UAE after he arrived in the Philippines, and authorities immediately informed the Philippine Embassy.
The man has been isolated and people who had contact with him are being traced and quarantined, Ona said. Officials are also tracing the plane passengers who were seated near the Filipino during the flight to Manila.
The health department said it is sending an epidemiology expert and an infectious disease specialist to UAE after the death of the Filipino there and reports that six other Filipinos were found to have the virus.