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Saudi health minister denies shutting schools due to Coronavirus

Published: Updated:

Saudi Health Minister Dr Abdullah al-Rabeeah has denied reports that his ministry has recommended shutting schools in al-Ahsaa region due to cases of the Corona virus.

No local or international health experts have recommended such a course of action, he added.

Saudi Arabia has reported 30 cases of the virus, with 15 fatalities. There have been 21 cases in Ahsaa, with nine deaths.

Rabeeah said the situation is stable, with the number of reported cases declining, and ongoing screening for the virus.

The World Health Organization had said earlier that 34 cases have been reported worldwide since the virus was first detected in September 2012, with 18 of the victims dying, according to AFP.

The virus is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which caused a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in east Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts and eventually killing some 800 people, AFP said.