Death of 13-year-old Durra will not pass unnoticed: minister
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 12, (Agencies): The Ministry of Health has taken all measures needed to ensure the safety of citizens and expats against the Coronavirus, said the ministry’s Undersecretary Mustafa Redha.
The official’s remarks were made in press conference on Wednesday, regarding reports issued by one of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s bodies that a South Korean citizen who arrived in his country coming from Kuwait was infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Coronavirus.
The ministry had raised the level of alert to contain any possible cases of the disease. The ministry’s medical team also took samples from those who engaged with the patient, it said, adding that the samples were all negative.
The Yonhap News Agency had reported that ten people in South Korea who came into contact with the infected patient and showed symptoms of the disease tested negative.
Last Saturday, the 61-year-old man was diagnosed with the first case of MERS in South Korea in about three years after returning home from a business trip to Kuwait from Aug 16 to Sept 6.
He was rushed to the emergency room of a medical center in southern Seoul upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport. As of Tuesday evening, a total of 21 people who had come in close contact with the MERS patient, including those on the plane, such as flight attendants, passengers, medical staff and immigration officials, have all been quarantined in their respective homes and are being monitored for signs of MERS.
MERS is a viral respiratory disease with a fatality rate of 20-46 percent. It is caused by a novel Coronavirus carried by camels and can be spread when someone is in close contact with a patient for a sustained period.
The first MERS case was recorded in Saudi Arabia, and it has since spread to other countries. As of June this year, the World Health Organization has reported 2,229 laboratory-confirmed cases. South Korea was hit by an outbreak in 2015, resulting in 38 deaths and 186 people testing positive for MERS.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basil Al-Sabah said that “the death of the girl 13-year-old Durra Al-Haraz will not pass unnoticed, reports Al-Rai daily. Al-Sabah told the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) the ministry has taken two successive steps in this regard.
The first is to suspend from duty those who were responsible for the child’s death and issued a travel ban and also called on the hospital to take necessary legal actions to determine the circumstances of the death.
He added, the second step is the formation of a ministerial committee comprising specialists from Kuwait University and some related institutes. He noted the purpose of the formation of the committee to ensure the integrity of the procedures followed in the investigations conducted and ensure that no pressure is put on the parties to the case. “Is it reasonable that we are afraid to go to hospitals, instead of being a source of safety and security for us?” This is the question asked by Abdullah al-Harz, the brother of the victim, to the committee investigating the case.
Al-Haraz told the daily he took his 13-year-old sister Durra to the Abdullah Al-Salem Center for Dermatology because she had a small sack of puss behind her ear and immediately after the needle was injected into the sac behind the ear, she suffered from convulsions. According to the testimony of a paramedic who transferred Durra from the center in the suburb of Abdullah al-Salem to the Amiri Hospital, he examined her before she was admitted to the hospital and confirmed her heart had been stopped and died before she reached the hospital.
In the meantime, the MPs have called for toughening penalties for medical errors. MP Riad Al- Adassani denounced the incident and offered his condolences to the family and stressed that he would follow up the procedures of the Ministry of Health and the committee charged with investigating the death. “The minister and relevant ministry officials must assume their responsibilities.”