Pandemic panic: MERS at Mecca

Update July 5th: WHO to convene emergency talks on MERS, Tuesday (here).  Only second ever of such emergency talks.  Hat tip: Drudge

“Belgian medics have warned Muslims not to travel to Mecca, because the Hajj threatens to spread the virus worldwide.”

I’m wondering if every local US health department should be alerted in case Muslims from the US come in contact with the disease as they travel to the Hajj.

There has been another death of a Middle Eastern man in the UK from the mystery disease known to the health community, and soon to the world, as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).  Here is the story from the UK Telegraph, hat tip: Always on Watch via twitter:

A man being treated in a London hospital for a lethal ‘Sars-like’ Middle Eastern virus has died.

This May 23rd graphic is already outdated—77 cases now with 43 deaths!

The man, a Qatari national, had been admitted to a private clinic in London in September, before being transferred to the specialist centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.

He was diagnosed as suffering from the Mers virus – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – which has affected 77 people worldwide, with 43 deaths.

“Guy’s and St Thomas’ can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus (MERS-nCV) sadly died on Friday 28 June, after his condition deteriorated, despite every effort and full supportive treatment,” said Robin Wilkinson, a spokesman for the hospital.

The death of the Qatari man brings to three the number of victims who have died in the UK.

Warnings to be issued in advance of Hajj pilgrimage:

Known cases of the illness have quadrupled since April, and it is deadlier than Sars, which killed 774 people in 2003. SARS killed one in ten affected people; Mers has proved fatal in 65 per cent of cases.

The majority of the cases have been in Saudi Arabia, or in patients who have recently travelled to the region.

But with the annual Hajj pilgrimage due in October, and an estimated three million people travelling to Mecca, concerns are mounting that the deadly virus could spread swiftly.

“We need to get the facts clear and get the appropriate advice to all your countries where your pilgrims want to go to Mecca,” said Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organisation, in May. “It is something quite urgent.”


Cases have been reported in Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Britain, France, Italy, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia – the country with the most confirmed infections.

Visit our ‘health issues’ category for our previous coverage of MERS and other diseases and ailments that follow immigrants around the world.

Canada announces it will take 1,300 Syrian refugees (to begin with)

Actually they didn’t say “to begin with,” that was me, because we all know that this is just the beginning with literally millions of Syrians on the move throughout the Middle East.

Syrians on the move. We are coming to Canada!
Washington Post photo

Be sure to read what the director of one of the largest Syrian camps said recently (here)—-most difficult refugees in the world!

Apparently the Canadian government has succumbed to pressure from its 100,000-strong Canadian ‘Syrian community.’

1,300 will soon be on the way, according to The Star:

Ottawa will resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees to Canada from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey over two years to address the deepening humanitarian crisis there, says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

The announcement on Wednesday came a month after the Syrian Canadian community made a public appeal urging the federal government to establish a special program for displaced refugees caught up in the two-year-old civil war between Syrian President Bashar Assad and the opposition.

The latest United Nations data shows more than 4.25 million Syrians are internally displaced and more than 1.6 million have fled to neighbouring countries.

“Our focus . . . is finding a long-term political solution to the crisis there,” Kenney told a news conference in Edmonton. “Our country is making an important effort to ensure the most vulnerable Syrian refugees are provided protection.”  [They love that word too—vulnerable!-–ed]

A coalition representing Canada’s 100,000-strong Syrian community welcomed the announcement, but worry about the lengthy screening and processing involved in the resettlement program.

“It is a step in the right direction. They finally recognized the crisis in Syria, which is the largest refugee crisis in the world today,” said Faisal Alazem of the Syrian Canadian Council in Montreal, one of seven groups involved in the coalition that met with Kenney in June.

Then US readers take note, in Canada many refugees are resettled with PRIVATE FUNDING.  In the US almost all refugees are resettled with taxpayer money funneled through resettlement contractors.

Two hundreds of the 1,300 Syrian refugees will be resettled with financial support by the Canadian government, while the rest will be assisted by community and faith groups that have sponsorship agreements with Ottawa.

If the US required private financial support and added legal responsibility for the resettlement sponsor group or individual sponsors, the refugee flow would be seriously curtailed.  It’s just too easy to want more (and more) refugees when using someone else’s money!