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Saudi Arabia Must Remain Vigilent, Transparent On MERS

Citing two conflicting studies on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) — one showing “a slowly growing epidemic” and the other not — a Washington Post editorial states, “The behavior of this virus is a matter of concern to the world. Much is unknown, and much will depend on Saudi Arabia, which has reported a steady stream of cases, including 53 of the deaths so far.” The editorial continues, “There are rumblings of worry among public health experts about the lack of good research coming from Saudi Arabia, with its traditions of isolation and opacity.” The editorial writes, “A decade ago, the SARS epidemic shocked Chinese leaders into realizing that transparency was essential for battling a public health crisis,” adding, “The MERS coronavirus could mutate and pose a threat far beyond the Middle East.” The Washington Post concludes, “Before that moment, Saudi Arabia ought to learn a lesson from China and do everything it can to make sure the world’s wisdom and experience are brought to bear on [MERS]” (11/19).