Via Arab News: OFWs dismiss Manila’s MERS advisory. Excerpt and then a comment:
Filipino residents in the Saudi capital have described their government’s concern with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-Cov) as exaggerated.
This reaction comes in the wake of several advisories urging Filipino pilgrims to postpone their pilgrimage until next year, the most recent of which was issued on Friday by the the Philippine Department of Health (DOH).
“If there really was an imminent MERS threat, the Saudi government would have been first to issue a warning, which it has not done so far,” said Mohammad Mua, board chairman of the 2,500-member United OFW. “As such, the concern of the Philippine government over the matter is exaggerated.”
“Friday’s appeal is for pilgrims to abstain from traveling to the Kingdom until the MERS situation is brought under control,” said Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH spokesman.
“We know that Haj is a religious obligation, but it is also our duty to provide health advice since some 6,500 Filipino Muslim are expected to come to the Kingdom for Haj,” said the spokesman.
Saidy M. Malik, president of Masiu Maganting, said that neither the Saudi government nor the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning regarding MERS.
“These are the authorities that are tasked with issuing a warning on such a threat if needed. As long as they have not issued any advisory, Filipino pilgrims are safe to perform the pilgrimage,” Malik said. “The advisory issued by the DOH is merely a reminder for pilgrims to take precautions.”
The drop in new Saudi MERS cases has been matched by a drop in Saudi news reports about it, and this piece of spin, with its impatient "MERS is so over" tone, is just the kind of coverage we don't need.