|WHO mum on five Saudi deaths from Sars-like virus
Five Saudi nationals have died of a new SARS-like virus during the past few days and two more are in intensive care, the health ministry said.
In a statement cited by the Saudi SPA agency late yesterday, officials said all the deaths as well as the infections occurred in the eastern Ahsaa province, AFP reports.
Known as novel coronavirus or hCoV-EMC, the virus was first detected in mid-2012 and is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
hCoV-EMC stands for human coronavirus-Erasmus Medical Center, after the Dutch health institution that identified it.
Sixteen people have now died from 23 cases detected in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany and Britain. Riyadh has accounted for most of the deaths, with 11 people including the five new fatalities.
In Geneva, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation would not comment on why so many of the cases have occurred in the Saudi kingdom.
“We have received a formal notification from the Saudis about these cases,'' spokesman Glenn Thomas told AFP.
When asked if the WHO is planning to issue a travel warning for Saudi Arabia, he said this was “unlikely’’ since “there has been no change in the risk assessment.''