U.N. says 22 deaths worldwide from coronavirus

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There have been 22 deaths worldwide, out of 44 lab-confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

According to The Associated Press, WHO officials have reported another fatal case of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS, in central Saudi Arabia, but say it is not related to the cluster of cases reported from the country’s east.

The U.N. health agency said in a statement, Thursday, citing information from Saudi Arabia’s health ministry, that the latest fatality is a 63-year-old man with an underlying medical condition who was hospitalized with acute breathing problems five days before he died on May 20.

At the WHO’s annual meeting in Geneva, agency officials said four of every five cases affect men and the patients’ average age is 56.

The WHO had earlier said that 34 cases have been reported worldwide since the virus was first detected in September 2012, 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.

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