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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Passenger from New Delhi diagnosed with swine flu; toll hits 45

Passenger from New Delhi diagnosed with swine flu; toll hits 45
Mohammed Rasooldeen | Arab News

RIYADH: Six more cases of swine flu were identified in the Kingdom in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of reported cases to 45, the Ministry of Health announced yesterday.

Five of the six new cases are people who contracted the virus from patients in various hospitals in Riyadh, while the sixth case is a 25-year-old Saudi man who arrived from New Delhi yesterday.

Khaled Al-Mirghalani, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told Arab News that the Saudi man, who arrived at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport aboard Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight SV763, was diagnosed with swine flu by quarantine officials at the arrival lounge.

“This is the first time we have found a case in a passenger coming from India,” he said, adding that the volume of passenger traffic between the Kingdom and India is huge.

“We are now monitoring all arriving passengers from all corners of the world,” the spokesman said, adding that his ministry has been taking maximum precautions to prevent the disease from entering the Kingdom through these passengers. “On the other hand, we rely on right thinking people to report any suspected infection to the ministry to help us in our efforts to combat the disease.”

He requested passengers who traveled aboard SV763 yesterday to monitor their health condition and any visible symptoms should be brought to the immediate notice of health officials.

The numbers to be contacted in the western provinces are 02-6640288 or 02-6640256. Lines are open between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.

The new cases in Riyadh include two Filipino nurses aged 51 and 52, a 21-year-old Saudi man, and two Saudi girls aged six months and one year.

Al-Mirghalani said the ministry has shifted the venue of its workshop on swine flu from Riyadh to Jeddah due to logistic reasons. “It will now be held for three days from Sunday,” he said.

Experts attending the workshop will be taken on field trips to the Haj Terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport and other places with huge concentration of pilgrims to get their ideas and suggestions in overcoming the current health crisis.

Al-Mirghalani said Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, who is slated to inaugurate the workshop, is open to any constructive suggestions to combat the disease.

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