RIYADH: Saudi Arabia reported 10 confirmed new cases of a deadly respiratory disease during the holy month of Ramadan, and subsequent Eid Al Fitr holiday, after fears that an influx of pilgrims over the period might spread the infection more widely.
Notices of any new confirmed cases are published at the end of every day by the Health Ministry. Ramadan ended a week ago and the Eid Al Fitr holiday ran until late last week.
Hundreds of people were infected by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the kingdom in April and May, raising concerns about the pilgrimage in Ramadan and during October’s Haj, when millions of people will travel to Makkah and Medina. MERS, which is thought to originate in camels, causes coughing, fever and pneumonia in some and has killed around 40 percent of people it has infected in the kingdom.
Since 2012, when MERS was identified, Saudi Arabia has reported 298 deaths from the disease and 721 confirmed cases of infection.
This year and in 2013 there were outbreaks in April and May followed by a drop-off in new confirmed cases.