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MENAFN - Arab News - 26/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) Schools should cancel field trips because of the danger that students might become infected with the middle east respiratory syndrome (mers) coronavirus a doctor said here recently.

'i would not suggest that schools take students out on field trips now in light of the coronavirus outbreak because it is not safe at all" said m.s. karimuddin head of the pediatrics department at new jeddah clinic.

'the school atmosphere is different. if a child is not well he will not be allowed to go to school so that the infection does not spread. but anywhere in the field including malls and crowded places there is no control and must be strictly avoided." karimuddin said that only one child has been affected by mers so far.

he said schools should inform parents to have their children checked out if they are coughing in an unusual manner or even having a casual cough.

'this is because the initial symptoms are the same as the common cold so you never know if you have the spreading coronavirus or just the common cold. prevention is always better than cure."

he endorsed remarks made last week by sami badawood director of jeddah's health department that schoolchildren should keep safe by maintaining proper hygiene and keeping away from crowded areas.

he said citizens and residents should also believe badawood when he says that there are no cases of mers infections at jeddah schools. 'it is always better to pay attention to the officials" said karimuddin. 'they are responsible and working hard to prevent the virus from spreading. it is our duty to believe the authorities of the country we are living in."

'if the authorities say there is no harm in sending children to school we must believe them because they probably have the situation under control and especially because the coronavirus has been around for about two years now" he said.

'on the other hand if parents wish to keep their children away from school due to their fears over mers schools should not be hard on them by being strict about applying absenteeism rules because i believe parents have the right to protect their children" said karimuddin.

meanwhile the ministry of education has denied that it closed schools after the recent outbreak and stated that there are no coronavirus cases among students.

in a recent report maun nizar feteih a jeddah-based consultant pulmonologist said it was normal for people to panic because there has been a high mortality rate with the latest outbreak.

'people get the flu and then in five or six days they're on a ventilator. even as healthcare workers we panic because we see colleagues - doctors and nurses we work with - who are suddenly in intensive care. but i think things are moving in a positive direction" feteih said.

he said the saudi authorities have worked to educate health workers and patients about prevention and collaborated with hospitals to isolate suspected and confirmed cases.


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