After reviewing the number of confirmed cases of the Middle Eastern Respiratory Virus (MERS) since 2012, Saudi Arabia announced that it has drastically revised upwards the incidents of infection and resulting death — from 575 to 688 and 190 to 282, respectively. The announcement comes soon after the country's deputy health minister was forced to resign, suggesting that Saudi Arabia may not be doing enough to keep the virus from spreading.
The head of Saudi Arabia's medical advisory council, Dr. Tariq Madany, said that the new figure came from a "full review" of the history of the virus in the country. "The ministry is committed to providing all the data concerning the coronavirus and putting policies in place to protect public health,” he continued, adding, "though the review showed confirmed cases that needed to be added, we are still witnessing a decline in the number of newly registered cases in the past few weeks.”
Per Al Arabiya, the Health Ministry says it is putting new measures in place, like standardizing MERS testing and improved guidelines for labeling and storing samples, to make sure that the tally is more accurate moving forward. And, according to Madany, the review did turn up some good news: "We still see a decline in the number of new cases reported over the past few weeks."
The virus originated in Saudi Arabia but has spread across the Middle East and reached a number of other countries, including (via travelers) the United States, and most recently Algeria.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.