The two day lull in MERS reports out of Riyadh was short-lived, as today we are informed of two additional ex-pat Health Care Workers infected, apparently as part of the ongoing nosocomial outbreak in the nation’s capital.
A third case – from Qweiyah – is also reported. This is the second case from Qweiyah, with the first reported a week ago. Additionally 6 recoveries – all from Riyadh – are announced.
With hundreds of thousands of religious pilgrims expected to arrive for this year’s Hajj, the specter of MERS and a deadly accident at the Holy Mosque this past week finds the Saudi MOH in full reassurance mode, as illustrated by the following statement appearing on their website:
13 September 2015
- World-class medical support and resources, in place as a matter of routine, helped to ensure a rapid response and swift treatment for hundreds of people impacted by tragic crane collapse
- Crane accident will not impact preparations for annual Hajj pilgrimage
The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health offers its deepest condolences and reassurances of support to the families of all those affected by the construction crane collapse at Makkah’s Grand Mosque on Friday 11 September.
Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Health, said, “The emergency response of the healthcare system to this tragedy was exemplary and we are now focused on treating all those affected by this accident and we offer our deepest sympathies to those families who lost loved ones. Thanks to the world-class medical resources pre-positioned near the Grand Mosque our dedicated health professionals were able to respond rapidly, saving many lives. Pilgrims visiting for this year’s annual Hajj should be reassured that the Hajj preparations are proceeding well, as ever, we have outstanding medical services on site and on standby to serve the pilgrims.”
According to statistics from the General Directorate of Civil Defense, 107 people were killed with 394 total injured reporting to medical facilities as a result of the crane collapse. As of Sunday, 13 patients remain in intensive care at Makkah area hospitals while 185 have already been discharged after receiving treatment. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, was personally on-site to direct the recovery efforts and visit the injured. A 24-hour telephone hotline for family members and the media is available from the Ministry of Health to supply up to date information: +966 (12) 541-4105and +966 (12) 539-9446.
While the incident took place 10 days before the peak Hajj, already more than 900,000 pilgrim visitors had arrived in the country and medial teams were fully prepped to receive them at their entry into the Kingdom and serve them throughout their Hajj journey.
Up to a million additional pilgrims from all over the world are expected to arrive for the annual Hajj over the coming week. While care for the remaining injured will continue, the Ministry of Health is ensuring that regular support services for visiting pilgrims will be available to assist all in need. The Ministry has mobilized 25,000 additional healthcare workers to supplement the medical network of the Makkah and Medinah regions in preparation for this year’s Hajj. A total of 5,000 beds are available to care for any pilgrims requiring treatment, including 500 intensive care units.
In preparation for the Hajj season every year the Ministry of Health mobilizes thousands of medical personnel to care for the millions of pilgrim visitors. In addition to local facilities, 8 fully equipped seasonal hospitals are operated on-site to address every potential scenario. Unfortunately, these mission-critical resources were needed throughout the weekend but, thankfully, some were able to provide swift and necessary care for all victims of the Grand Mosque accident.----
- 107 deaths, 394 total injuries reported to medical facilities, of which 158 are currently admitted in hospitals, with 236 already treated and released, as reported by the General Directorate of Civil Defense
- 36 emergency medical teams responded to the incident
- 25,000 medical personnel mobilized to support Hajj in 2015
- 8 seasonal hospitals supporting Hajj in addition to hundreds of permanent medical facilities in the area
- The Grand Mosque, known as the Masjid al-Haram, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam's holiest place, the Kaaba.
Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Health, after visiting the injured together with King Salman commented that he was instructed to, “care for the injured and ensure they were provided with medical support necessary to complete their pilgrimage.”