Passengers coming from China wearing masks to prevent a new coronavirus are checked by Saudi Health Ministry employees upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 29, 2020. (REUTERS)
Precautionary measures in place to keep virus at bay
RIYADH: The Saudi Health Ministry reaffirmed on Monday that the Kingdom remained free of coronavirus and the authorities are taking all measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Arrangements are in place at the Kingdom’s airports to screen passengers arriving from China via direct and indirect flights.
Quarantine rooms have also been established in hospitals to tackle any untoward situation.
The health chiefs, meanwhile, declared 10 Saudi students flown home from Wuhan in China this week free from any infection.
The group will remain in quarantine under full medical supervision for two weeks, while further tests are carried out. Video footage posted on social media showed them relaxing in their special accommodation inside a Saudi health facility.
The students were the only Saudis in Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first identified on Dec. 1. About 800 Saudis, mainly women and children, had flown home from other parts of China, the Saudi Ambassador in Beijing, Turki Al-Madi, told Arab News.
“We are helping all Saudis in China and facilitating the return of the remaining families,” he said. The ambassador said he believed the Chinese authorities were doing a good job in containing the spread of the disease.
- Passengers arriving from China via direct and indirect flights are being screened.
- A command and control center has been established at the Health Ministry.
- Quarantine rooms have also been established in hospitals to tackle any untoward situation.
Since the outbreak of the virus, a command and control center has been established at the Health Ministry to ensure coordinated efforts to keep the virus at bay.
The center, in cooperation with relevant authorities, is implementing international health regulations required under such circumstances and as recommended by the World Health Organization.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
In severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory syndrome.
The virus has infected more than 17,000 people in 27 countries, and killed 362, almost all in China. Saudis had “no need to panic” if they took preventive measures, Dr. Aisha Metwali, coordinator at the infection control department of King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Jeddah, told Arab News.
These included attention to basic hygiene, and avoiding large gatherings and crowded places, she said.
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