Over the next few weeks and months the Saudi MOH – under new leadership (see December’s Saudi King Appoints New MOH Amid Sweeping Changes To Ministries) – is expected to have to deal with another spring wave of the MERS coronavirus.
And if it is anything like last year, it could be a very busy few months.
Already this week we are seeing signs of an uptick in cases (5 yesterday) and an exported case to the Philippines, and Arabic twitter is carrying both rumors and denials of additional cases this afternoon.
This time last year there was a huge amount of internal debate over whether camels were a possible vector (see Saudi MOA Spokesman: Camel Link Unproven), hospitals were still not taking the infectious disease risk seriously, and the risks to the public were downplayed by the MOH.
Fortunately, the Saudi MOH now seems fully onboard with the idea that camels are an infection risk, we’ve seen some strong messaging to the health sector about infection control (see Saudi MOH: `Veros_Korona’), and last month we even saw the Saudi MOH Close A Riyadh Dialysis Center Over MERS Concerns.
Today, the Saudi MOH has released a series of short informational videos on the Coronavirus, with both English and Arabic versions.
These videos focus on corona transmission and safety in the workplace, the potential for contracting the virus from camels and camel products, and guidance of the use of facemasks.
They, and many others – mostly in Arabic - can be found on the Saudi MOH Youtube Channel.
These videos were only posted within the past few hours, and are showing up on twitter and other Arabic social sites. While none of this tells us how successful the MOH will be in dealing with the MERS threat over the next few months, this does suggest a higher degree of engagement than we’ve seen previously.
A hopeful sign, perhaps.
In any event, below you’ll find links to the English language versions of these MERS PSAs.