Saudi Arabia to set up specialist MERS treatment centre

Jeddah hospital is reportedly being transformed as cases of deadly virus continues to rise in Gulf kingdom

Saudi Arabia is setting up a specialist hospital for the treatment of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as cases continue to rise in the Gulf kingdom, it was reported on Tuesday.

Arrangements are under way to make the King Abdullah Medical Complex in Jeddah a centre for the treatment of MERS virus and acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih has appointed Hamad Al-Dhewalia as the CEO of the complex, Arab News reported.

Saudi Arabia plans to transform the facility into a centre of learning and treatment of the virus which has affected more than 500 people in the Gulf kingdom, the paper said.

Hospital authorities are reportedly furnishing and equipping the centre with separate rooms to treat infected patients supported by medical staff.

The minister said that the new facility will be a model centre for the treatment of corona virus.

The King Abdullah Medical Complex includes the main hospital with a capacity of 500 beds, and a maternity hospital while additional construction works are ongoing to build 400 more beds and another 200 beds for eye care services.

Saudi Arabia said last week that 10 more people infected with MERS had died while 20 new cases of the virus had been identified, pushing the total number of infections in the country to 511.

The deaths took the death toll in Saudi Arabia to 157 since MERS, a coronavirus like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), was identified two years ago.

The World Health Organisation said last Wednesday that while concern about the virus had "significantly increased", the disease was not yet a global health emergency.

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