(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia removed its health minister from his post as the country struggles to combat an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Abdullah al-Rabeeah was relieved of his duties and will become an adviser to the royal court, the official Saudi Press Agency said yesterday. He’ll be replaced on an acting basis by Labor Minister Adel Faqih, the SPA said.
The Ministry of Health said yesterday on its website that 12 more people tested positive for the MERS coronavirus, bringing the total number of reported cases in the kingdom to 261.
Al-Rabeeah said at an April 20 press conference that he expected to get reports of more cases over the coming three weeks.
At least 93 people have died of the disease since it emerged in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, according to the World Health Organization.
The health ministry sent text messages to the country’s 30 million residents last week to alert them to the dangers of the disease.