To think the unthinkable in order to organize a preparedness plan to cope with mass gathering situations: That is part of the job of a risk assessment. Regarding health issues and risks related to MERS, please refer to weak signals of an outbreak during the Hajj.
But this year we are also assisting to major accidents with huge number of casualties and fatalities; first related to the crane crash in the Grand Mosque (Mecca) and now hundreds of pilgrims dead in stampede.
Despite reassuring News from WHO EMRO, there is a clear evidence that safety and security are not in place to prevent this kind of chaos.
Consequence management might be of great importance with regards Public Health issues when facing multiple casualties which could lead to overwhelming the local medical facilities and ER capabilities.
On a Health and Safety risk management, it is a bit disappointing to address high risks leading to recovery measures where and when pro-active measures could have avoided so many dead Pilgrims. Lack of safety and security measures to be pointed out.
Same remarks for MERS when we see camel pens reappearing in Jeddah or camel meat prepared for the pilgrims despite Saudi Authorities recommendations.
How could the overcrowded ER all around the holy cities hint by these accidents could control and prevent the emergence of a MERS outbreak, just in case???