WHO Experts To Visit Saudi Hospital Where Coronavirus Has Spread

WHO “experts and local officials will visit a Saudi hospital where the SARS-like coronavirus has spread, killing seven people, the U.N. agency said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports. “The WHO-Saudi team of experts will focus on the Al-Moosa hospital in the town of Hofuf in Ahsa governate in Eastern Province, where the patients are being treated,” according to Reuters, which adds, “Health experts’ concerns are growing over clusters of cases, despite no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission — the type of infection pathway that can lead to pandemics.” Reuters writes, “‘One focal point of the investigation at the moment is the hemodialysis unit in the hospital,’ said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl in Geneva, referring to equipment used on kidney and diabetes patients.”

“A total of 23 cases have been reported since September in Saudi Arabia, including 13 since mid-April in al-Ahsa, where seven patients have died and four remain critically ill in intensive care, with two improving in hospital, the WHO said,” Reuters notes. The news service adds, “France reported its first case on Wednesday in a 65-year-old Frenchman who had recently returned from Dubai with the virus that has emerged from the Gulf and has also spread to Britain and Germany as well as Jordan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates” (Nebehay/Habboush, 5/8).