Health Ministry officials in Jeddah dismissed as “false” reports that said a woman died at a local hospital after she was infected with the coronavirus.
Social networking sites posted warnings to people against visiting Jeddah's Maternity and Children's Hospital, claiming there were coronavirus cases in the hospital.
Jeddah Health Affairs spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Sahafi said these warnings claimed that the emergency unit of the hospital was receiving a number of patients while a woman had died and a doctor was in a coma because of the virus.
He said all these reports were mere rumors and warned against spreading such baseless information.
Director of Jeddah Health Affairs Dr. Sami Badawood said there were no new cases of coronavirus reported in the city.
He said all necessary precautions have been implemented to discover new cases and deal with them in accordance with World Health Organization directives.
He said there was one coronavirus-related death in a private hospital in Jeddah last year and another case where the patient died outside the Kingdom.
A new case discovered in the Eastern Province on Saturday brought to 31 the total number of coronavirus infections in the Kingdom, mostly in the eastern town of Al-Ahsa, since the SARS-like virus first emerged in September 2012.
Most patients infected with the virus are cured without any complications. In rare cases, complications may happen and infect the respiratory system and kidneys, which may cause death to elderly patients or those with heart problems, Badawood said.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette visited the emergency unit of the hospital and patients there expressed surprise at the rumors, claiming hygiene standards were high in the hospital.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette also visited the central sterilization center of the hospital, which is staffed by 11 employees and incorporates five sterilization systems. The staff work in two shifts to ensure the highest possible hygiene in the hospital.Maybe Dr. Badawood knows something we don't, but according to Dr. Ian Mackay, who keeps track of the numbers, the MERS case fatality rate as of June 17 was 59%. So deaths from this virus are not exactly "rare cases."
I take this story to mean the Saudis are having communications problems in the Ministry of Health, aggravated by rumours over social media.So they're trying to squelch the rumours and calm things down...if need be, with a little excess spin about how mild MERS is.>