AL JAZEERA (Qatar), LE MONDE, AFP (France), SPA (Saudi- Arabia)
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has announced that five people have recently died from a new SARS-like virus, and that two more are being treated in an intensive care unit, reports Al Jazeera.
The statement, released late Wednesday night, noted that the five deceased were all residents of Al-Ihsa province in eastern Saudi Arabia, reports AFP.
Known as novel coronavirus or HcoV-EMC, the virus was first detected in mid-2012, and is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which triggered a worldwide scare a decade ago when it erupted in East Asia, reports Le Monde.
According to Al Jazeera the health ministry said it was taking “all precautionary measures for persons who have been in contact with the infected people, and has taken samples from them to examine if they are infected as well.”
Sixteen people have now died from 23 cases detected in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany and Britain. Saudis have accounted for most of the deaths, with 11 people, including the five new fatalities
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that a 73-year-old Saudi man died in Munich, Germany in March from the lethal new virus. However, the organization does not yet know how the virus is transmitted or how widespread it is due to lack of information.