News / Middle East

Saudi Arabia Reports 11 New Cases of MERS Virus

FILE - Passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila's International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila, April 16, 2014.
FILE - Passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila's International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila, April 16, 2014.
Reuters
Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had discovered 11 more cases of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including what appeared to be the first case in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
 
A health ministry statement said eight of the people were in intensive care, two were stable, including a 24-year-old Saudi man from the “holy capital” Mecca, and one showed no symptoms. Three of those affected worked in health care, it said.
 
Saudi Arabia has witnessed a jump in the rate of infection with the virus in recent weeks, with many of the new cases recorded in Jeddah, the kingdom's second largest city.
 
Of Wednesday's 11 new cases, four were recorded in the Saudi capital Riyadh, six in Jeddah - the second largest city and the main entry point for pilgrims visiting nearby Mecca - and one in Mecca itself, the statement said.
 
The jump in Saudi cases is of particular concern as the country is expected to see a large influx of pilgrims from around the world in July during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, followed in early October by the arrival of millions of people to perform the annual Haj in Mecca and Medina.
 
The latest cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the kingdom to 272, of whom 81 have died.
 
MERS emerged in the Middle East in 2012 and is from the same family as the SARS virus, which killed around 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002. MERS can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.
 
Although the worldwide number of MERS infections is fairly small, the more than 40 percent death rate among confirmed cases and the spread of the virus beyond the Middle East is keeping scientists and public health officials on alert.
 
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah replaced the health minister on Monday amid growing public disquiet at the spread of the disease. A day before his dismissal, Abdullah al-Rabeeah said there were no cases of the virus in Mecca.
 
Labor Minister Adel Fakieh, who has been appointed as acting health minister, said on Wednesday he had just returned from a visit to the King Fahd hospital in Jeddah where a number of coronavirus patients are being treated.
 
Fakieh said he was pleased that a number of patients, including doctors, were recovering but said that there were a few critical cases still receiving medical care.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid