MOH News
Eng. Faqih Holds a Press Conference on Ways to Control the Coronavirus
29 April 2014
His Excellency the Minister-Designate of Health Eng. Adel Mohamed Faqih, unveiled on Tuesday that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has embarked on an urgent plan to understand and analyzethe nature of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), discuss the best means to control this deadly virus, and to get briefed on the health situation in the Kingdom, through discussing the latest updates and procedures to be taken to face the challenges of this virus and curb its spread in our country.
During a press conference held today afternoon at the ministerial headquarters, Eng. Faqih said as part of the MOH's endeavors to find facts and gather information on this virus, all ideas and recommendations issued by the Council of Medical Advisers will be under consideration in order to curb the spread of this virus.
He went on adding that a series of effective procedures and steps have been taken to limit the Coronavirus spread in the Kingdom, such as paying field tours to a number of hospitals all over the Kingdom's regions with the aim to get acquainted with their readiness to receive any affected cases, Allah forbid. "Also, the ministry has recently established the Council of Medical Advisors to help face this challenge posing a threat to the public health in the Kingdom," said the minister, adding that this council will be a fundamental pillar in supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Health.
Within the same vein, Eng. Faqih said that such procedures included the establishment of three medical centers to combat the virus; namely, King Abdullah Medical Center in Jeddah, reckoned as the main center against the virus, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Hospital in Riyadh, and Dammam Medical Center in the Eastern region.
"The MOH is reviewing all options needed to face this challenge threatening the public health in the Kingdom," said Eng. Faqih, who underlined that this comes within the framework of the constant efforts and strict procedures adopted by the ministry to maintain the safety of the Saudi society during the current situation, expecting more decisions to be taken during the coming period.
Eng. Faqih also stressed his adherence to the principles of transparency and disclosure with all media outlets and society members, that's to be added to providing them with an easy and smooth access to information because they are sharing the same responsibility to overcome this challenge. "It can be argued that only if correct information is provided, communication between the Ministry and all stakeholders and society members will be accomplished," said the minister.
In the same context, Eng. Faqih highlighted that the MOH Portal is daily updated with details of each case monitored, such as its region, age and gender, thanking the Council of Medical Advisors for its valuable recommendations and proposals drafted recently. He also noted that the ministry will discuss these proposals in order to act accordingly during the coming period.
Eng. Faqih, meanwhile, warned of the direct contact with camels, especially those developing respiratory symptoms such the common cold and runny nose. "If necessary, however, the person must wear a gown, mask, gloves, and protective eye-wear when dealing with camels," he said. Also, Eng. Faqih called upon all citizens to take care when handling the raw meat products from camels, advising them to boil the milk before drinking it. "The cooked meat does not pose a threat to the public health," said the minister.
In conclusion, Eng. Faqih urged citizens not to take their information on the MERS Coronavirus from the social networking websites or from those marketing their fake medical and therapeutic products that are not based on the internationally-recognized medical evidences. He underlined that the MOH has attracted a large number of experts and consultants from all over the world and established consultative committees to know everything about the virus. A specialized medical team is in charge of providing these committees with all information on the virus.
For his part, Dr. Jawad Mahjour, head of the WHO Delegation, and director of the infectious diseases control division at the WHO East Mediterranean Office, made clear that combating and eradicating coronavirus are top priorities for the time being. “We needn't declare corona as an epidemic, though,” he said. “Nor does the WHO recommend any procedures of travel ban inside or outside the Kingdom.”
Meanwhile, he lauded the efforts exerted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as represented by its Ministry of Health, to curb the prevalence of the virus, as well as doing many researches aimed to identify the disease. In doing so, the Ministry helps identify the ways to prevent this disease. He mentioned, in this respect, that the Ministry has attracted a constellation of experts and consultant both from inside and outside the Kingdom, to discuss the developments of the virus, in a manner that would curb its prevalence.
The Deputy Minister of Health for Public Health, Dr. Zeyad Memish, for his part, affirmed that the Ministry of Health is abreast of all developments, and is working around the clock, through its specialized committees. It did not escape his notice to let everyone know that the situation is reassuring.
As regards putting on face masks at public places, Memish made clear that the Ministry does not recommend putting on masks at schools, streets and public places. Rather, it should be limited to those in contact with patients (especially doctors and nurses). He mentioned that continuing to put on masks all the time might make it a source of infection.
As for the international conference, he pointed out that it was held at the MOH Headquarter, with the participation of the world's most prominent experts in the domain, and touched upon all that has to do with coronavirus, in terms of its transmission and activity, making clear that, so far, there is no treatment or vaccine for the virus.
Speaking of the health requirements to be followed by those hailing for this year's pilgrimage (Hajj and Umrah), Dr. Memish mentioned that the Ministry, along with the scientific committees, have set some requirements, and advised the elderly and those with chronic diseases, as well as pregnant women, to postpone pilgrimage this year.
For his part, Dr. Tariq Mohmed Madani, a freelance advisor to the Ministry of Health, affirmed that the disinfectants and sterilizers available at houses and hospitals are sufficient for prevention of the virus, and that the Ministry recommends cleansing surfaces and tabletops and handrails of the staircase and escalators, as well as the tools used on an ongoing basis, such as the remote control, door handles and buttons of elevators, pointing out that there is no explanation for the spread of the disease in men more than women; it could possibly be due to that men are more used to being at public places.

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