For MERS-Related Inquiries, Phone 800 249 444

2015-0225 For MERS-Related Inquiries, Phone 800 249 444

In view of the rising incidence of the deadly coronavirus in several parts of the Kingdom, the Health Ministry has launched a phone-in service to create public awareness about the mysterious disease.

Khaled Al-Mirghalani, the ministry’s spokesman, told Arab News on Sunday that the ministry had taken this preventive step to curb the spread of the disease. The service will operate for two weeks, he said.

“Through this phone-in program, members of the public will be able to seek answers to questions on the nature of the disease, its symptoms, preventive methods and the pattern of the spread of the disease,” he said, pointing out that a panel of doctors will take the calls during office hours.

The toll free number for the phone-in service is 800 249 4444.

He also pointed out that so far, there has not been any case of coronavirus among Haj or Umrah pilgrims or among spectators at big soccer matches.

On Saturday, the virus affected four more people. Two of them died in Riyadh and Buraidah. Since June 2012, the virus has affected 902 people, of whom 385 died. Currently, 27 cases are being treated in various hospitals. So far, 490 patients have fully recovered after medical treatment.

In cooperation with the Education Ministry, the Health Ministry has organized a Kingdom-wide essay contest on coronavirus to spread the health message through children.

The students have been asked to write a 200-word essay on the virus, its symptoms, precautionary measures and the treatment offered by the state.

The ministry will also organize lectures, exhibitions and seminars among students to convey the message to them as well to their parents and relatives.

The students will be told about the importance of personal hygiene, such as washing their hands before and after meals. The campaign also includes encouraging students to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus and to follow good health habits.

The Command and Control Center has been taking all preventive measures to curtail the spread of the virus in anticipation of increased incidence in March and April.

The ministry has already hired experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to coordinate with them in the prevention of the virus in the Kingdom.

Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security at the WHO, commended the Kingdom’s efforts to fight the virus. “We are seeing a big improvement in the way the Kingdom is handling coronavirus,” he said.


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