Coronavirus claims new life in Saudi Arabia

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A man who had contracted the coronavirus has died in Saudi Arabia, raising the death toll in the kingdom from the SARS-like virus to 17, the health ministry announced on its website on Wednesday.

“A male non-Saudi died on Tuesday in a hospital in the Qassim region where he had been admitted several days ago with acute bronchitis,” the ministry said.

The ministry announced on Monday that a patient had died of coronavirus in the Eastern Region where most of the kingdom’s cases have been registered.

But no new cases have been recorded in that region for five days, the ministry said.

The latest death brings to 17 the number recorded in the kingdom. The ministry said most of those who had died were “elderly people with chronic illnesse.”

Last week, the Geneva-based World Health Organization reported that two Saudi health workers had contracted the deadly coronavirus from patients - the first evidence of transmission in a hospital setting.

While the virus has been deadliest in Saudi Arabia, cases have also been reported in Jordan, Qatar, Germany, Britain and France.

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

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