Acting Health Minister reveals urgent plan regarding coronavirus

April 29, 2014

Acting Health Minister Adel Faqih held a press conference in Riyadh today, during which he reported that the Ministry of Health has begun implementing an urgent plan to analyze the nature of the coronavirus (MERS) and explore the best ways to contain the disease. “In the context of its ongoing efforts to find facts and collect information, the ministry is looking for ideas and recommendations made by the advisory medical board regarding means of limiting the spread of the virus,” he said.

Recounting the government’s latest actions, Faqih stated, “Recently, a series of effective measures and serious steps were taken to curb the spread of the virus in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These included field visits to a number of hospitals in various parts of the Kingdom to check their readiness to receive any cases infected with the virus. Moreover, an advisory medical board was established recently by the ministry to help in meeting this issue which challenges the public health in the Kingdom.” He continued, “The measures also included the allocation of three medical centers to counter the virus, namely King Abdullah Medical City in Jeddah, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh and Dammam Medical Complex in Eastern Region.”

The Ministry of Health is considering all options to cope with the challenge, Faqih said, adding, “More decisions are expected in the coming days.” He insisted that the government is committed to the principle of transparency, noting that the Health Ministry’s website is updated daily and has full details on the cases. Finally, Faqih urged the public to avoid direct contact with camels and to take precautions when handling raw camel meat and to boil milk before drinking it.

For his part, the head of the visiting World Health Organization (WHO) delegation and Director of the Infectious Disease Control Division, Dr. Jawad Mahjor, said that the situation with coronavirus in the Kingdom does not require the declaration of an epidemic. He stressed that the WHO does not recommend any measures to ban travel to or from the Kingdom and praised Saudi Arabia’s preventative efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

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