Go to main content
Update on latest MERS situation in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (June 7) closely monitoring 28 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including six deaths, reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. The CHP again urged the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of health risks in the places they visit.
      In the KSA, 25 cases of MERS were reported between April 21 and May 29. The patients comprised 22 men (including six fatal cases) and three woman aged from 25 to 81, with 14 having underlying illnesses. Among them, six patients had contact with camels and consumed camel milk while ten cases (including four healthcare workers) had contact with confirmed MERS Coronavirus cases.
      In UAE, two cases involved two men with underlying illnesses were reported on May 16. Both patients, aged 45 and 69 respectively, had contact with camels. The 45-year-old man remained asymptomatic and was identified during contact tracing of the 69-year-old case.
     In Qatar, the case involved a 29-year-old man was reported on May 23. The patient has reported frequent contact with camels.
     To date, 1 980 cases have been reported to the WHO, with at least 699 deaths. Of note, 1 764 were confirmed in 10 Middle East countries, with 1 613 in the KSA, 83 in the United Arab Emirates, 28 in Jordan, 19 in Qatar, eight in Oman, six in Iran, four in Kuwait, and one each in Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain.
     "Travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry, and avoid unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities. We strongly advise travel agents organising tours to the Middle East to abstain from arranging camel rides and activities involving direct contact with camels, which are known risk factors for acquiring MERS Coronavirus," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     "We will maintain close communication with the WHO and relevant health authorities," the spokesman added.
     As Ramadan will last until late June, pilgrims going to the KSA for Umrah should be vigilant against MERS. The CHP has launched a new poster to enhance health education for the public and pilgrims travelling to the Middle East on prevention against MERS.     
     Travellers to affected areas should maintain vigilance, adopt appropriate health precautions and take heed of personal, food and environmental hygiene. The public may visit the following pages for more information and health advice: the MERS pages of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, MERS statistics in affected areas, the CHP's Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, and the WHO's latest news. Tour leaders and tour guides operating overseas tours are advised to refer to the CHP's health advice on MERS.
Ends/Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:17
Today's Press Releases