MERS Cases by Week – Thru Sept 10th, 2013
The Saudi government has openly prosecuted bloggers and dissidents, maintains strict control over internet content, and in 2012 was listed by the CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) as number 8 in the 10 Most Censored Countries. And just this week, KSA passed a law to combat cybercrime, which includes a broadly worded provision to outlaw `the dissemination of ideas that could affect public order or morality.’
All of which makes the appearance of several articles in the Arabic press (h/t Sharon Sanders of FluTrackers) over the past day or two – openly questioning the Ministry of Health’s statements on MERS – a bit surprising.
While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any of these reports - given the stiff penalties Saudi Arabia has imposed in the past on `dissident’ voices – the mere fact that they are being published at all is remarkable.
When you combine the parsimonious releases of information from KSA’s Ministry of Health, the recent comments published on Crofsblog by a Saudi Doctor), and the news stories stories below, it raises some serious questions over how accurate the `official version’ of events we are getting from KSA really is.
Therefore, offered not so much for their accuracy but as an indication that the Saudi government is losing control of MERS messaging, I present the following machine-translated reports.
As always, Caveat Lector.
This first report from http://www.aleqt.com/.
September 11, 2013 Issue 7275
Sultan Medical City in Riyadh military. "Economic"
Abdul peace الثميري from Riyadh
Confirmed for "economic" informed sources record the number of HIV infections in the city of Corona military medical Prince Sultan in the capital Riyadh, an estimated ten cases. The sources said that among the injured doctor esoteric Saudis, a recent graduate, enter the intensive care unit at the hospital, although there are a number of cases still is among the suspected cases, in addition to recording the event of the death of a nurse from the Philippine citizenship.
This comes amid silence by officials of the hospital, where he contacted the "economic" a number of them to clarify the matter, but attempts met with no reply or an apology and promise to issue a statement demonstration during the coming period, without setting a specific date.
The sources pointed out that there are a number of actions taken by the management of the hospital to prevent the transmission of infection among inpatients and employees of the hospital and dismissal, noting that there are medically استنفارا and meetings between the leaders until the preparation of the news.
She explained that the spread of the news of the existence of injuries among the employees of the hospital sparked panic many of the reviewers, which led to their absence from attending appointments during the past two days.
This next story, dated today, comes from http://www.alsharq.net.sa - which while grammatically challenged and bombastic by Western media standards - accuses the Ministry of Health of negligence and false reassurances on the MERS virus. It reports that some families are reluctant to send their children to school, and officials at the local hospital urged people not to go to hospitals unless absolutely necessary, all on an informal basis.
Live citizen in Batin concern up to the point of terror, after three deaths dealt with health discreetly fishy, three cases of one family died in times of very close, and the symptoms are very much like symptoms (CK), diagnosed health illness that (virus in the blood) for the two first and second, in the third case - from the same family - who died - God bless his soul - day of writing where informed people of the deceased (verbally) that infected Pkorona, parents of the deceased have a strong sense that even deaths prior to the family of the same disease (despite official denials), and this feeling caused deal which they found him in the hospital, where the medical staff had avoided dealing with these patients - also said people with the deceased - and they rely on a private hospitals in the province, which showed a (Drs) sympathy and cooperation with them, and still family (affected) living grief the departure of the deceased and concern for the rest of the family, the feeling of the most painful is (negligence), which they feel from the Ministry of Health, as if they were mere numbers keen Ministry of Health that do not rise and the remainder (exercise) method (reassurance), which no longer is acceptable to the street except that confirm the existence of epidemic, and the gap that spark concern that Health Affairs is still (denies) that officially, but in hospitals there is another opinion, horror of the doctors, nurses and apprehension in the corridors of hospitals, more than a nurse went to a private hospital to ask how to make sure no transmission to the exercise directly cases, the reluctance of many families, and to prevent their children from going to schools, officials at the hospital reassured At the same time advised not to go to hospitals unless absolutely necessary, all on an informal basis, but I take everything mentioned in this article from the information, and live daily suffering of the people here of horror and questions not answered them, we do not our desire to hold the minister or director of Health Affairs in a press conference, albeit less of their duties, people just want to be assured, but not by «exile and reassurance», and warning of being misled by rumors, the citizen sees «Death »The official insists it is 'Preacher', and it arrived some citizens to transfer their children to other regions, horror Is there more? That's the only question would be denying my health healthier!
Whatever the truth is regarding these reports, the fact that they are appearing at all in mainstream Arabic media suggests growing concerns over MERS (and a loss of confidence in the MOH) by the public, and by the media.
Anything less will ensure that control of the Kingdom’s MERS message will inexorably shift from Ministry of Health to other, likely less informed, sources.
And that would be of benefit to no one.