In Saudi Arabia fatality rates from a deadly new virus have been revised upwards. They are now reported to be 41 percent, up from the previously estimated rate of 33 percent.
Since 2012 there have been 688 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia. A total of 282 patients have died, 353 have recovered and 53 are still being treated.
Ziad Memish, the former deputy health minister, defended the actions taken: “A lot of interventions have been carried out by the health ministry, based on the recommendations of its international scientific committee, which meets and follows the status of what is happening as far as new cases. And a lot of infection control interventions were implemented.”
The Saudi authorities have been criticised for their handling of the outbreak, international scientists saying there had been a lack of cooperation with specialist laboratories that have offered to help investigate.
The Saudi Health Ministry said it has now set up a new command and control centre to tackle public health crises more effectively and to work with the World Health Organisation.