DUBAI , 10 August 2009 (IRIN) - Saudi Arabia has the highest number of laboratory confirmed pandemic H1N1 cases in the Eastern Mediterranean Region - 595 - with four out of the eight deaths so far, according to an 8 August World Health Organization (WHO) report.
Kuwait comes second with 560 cases, although no deaths, and Egypt third with 314 cases and one death. Lebanon, Qatar and Iraq have each had one fatality.
While Israel's Ministry of Health reported its fifth H1N1 death on 7 August and more than 2,000 cases of the virus, the country falls under WHO's Europe region.
With the Muslim holy month of Ramadan set to begin in about two weeks, and the annual Hajj due in late November, Arab health ministers are not allowing the elderly, children or chronically sick to make pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.
At a press conference on 5 August, Saudi Health Minister Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said only those between the ages of 12 and 65 with proof of a flu vaccination and no chronic disease would be granted Hajj visas. Pregnant women and people with diabetes, obesity and hypertension would also be barred from Mecca, he said.
Pandemic H1N1 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
|Islamic Republic of Iran||144||0|
|Libyan Arab Jamahiriya||9||0|
|Syrian Arab Republic||13||0|
|United Arab Emirates||79||0|
Source: WHO as of 8 August
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