All measures taken to ensure MERS-free Haj (Daily Balochistan Express (Pakistan))

The Saudi Ministry of Health has taken all necessary measures to control the rising incidence of MERS in Riyadh and a 24X7 epidemiological surveillance system is in place in Makkah and Madinah.

This information was given to reporters by Deputy Health Minister Abdulaziz bin Saeed and Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Health Abdullah M. Asiri.

This is the fourth Haj without any Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus case, Asiri said.

The action taken to address the MERS-CoV cluster at the National Guard hospital, as well as steps taken to prevent flare-ups in other areas of Riyadh,Arab news reported.

Abdulaziz said the ministry has deployed infectious disease specialist teams at all hospitals in the capital to monitor the movement of the virus.

When the National Guard hospital reported high incidence of the disease,a rapid response team, comprising experts in infectious diseases, was sent there to support the local teams in effective containment procedures, he said.

The ministry has tested over 5,700 samples for early detection to give an all-clear certificate to individuals who tested negative for MERS.

Asked about the safety measures during the forthcoming Haj period, Asiri told Arab News that three laboratories have been set up in Makkah, Mina and Arafat, while four such facilities in Madinah.

The test results of suspected samples will be given within eight hours.

In the event any positive cases, the authorities will isolate such patients and bring them out of the sacred areas to prevent the spread of the disease among other pilgrims, he added.

Some 53 cases have been traced to the National Guard hospital infection.

Of those, 32 patients remain hospitalized, three are in at-home isolation, 17 died and one patient has been discharged.

More than 5,700 samples have been screened as part the tracking and tracing activity to monitor all potentially impacted persons.

There were seven new cases confirmed on Saturday bringing the total to 1,141 cases since June 2012.

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