The Saudi government closed an international school in Riyadh after 20 students were diagnosed with swine flu, the health ministry said today. A health ministry official would not identify the school, only saying that it served people from an east Asian country. Riyadh has several schools serving the children of hundreds of thousands of workers from east Asia, mainly the Philippines and Indonesia.
The school outbreak and 12 other newly diagnosed cases pushed the total for Saudi Arabia to 216, less than six weeks after the first case was detected. All of the victims so far have survived. The school closure came as the government stepped up surveillance and education activities for the H1N1 flu, such as sending out millions of text messages to mobile users and asking preachers in mosques to help raise awareness.
Riyadh is especially concerned about the swine flu with upwards of two million people expected to arrive over the next five months on pilgrimages to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina. *AFP