Coronavirus toll hits 385 in Saudi Arabia with two new deaths

A 62-year-old Saudi man died from the infection in a government hospital in Riyadh and a 58-year-old woman died in Buraidah

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Two people have died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, pushing the total number of deaths from the virus in the Kingdom to 385. Another two people have been infected with the virus and two others have recovered from the disease in various parts of the Kingdom within 24 hours, the Health Ministry announced on Saturday.

It said a 62-year-old Saudi man died from the infection in a government hospital in Riyadh and a 58-year-old woman died in Buraidah.


The woman’s nationality was not revealed but the ministry said she was a health practitioner who got the infection by mixing with other patients. The ministry said the two victims were suffering from other diseases and were being treated for the virus when they died.

The ministry said two new cases of infections were reported. The first is a 51-year-old Saudi man in Al-Quwayiyah, Riyadh, and the second is also a Saudi man who is 46 and lives in Al-Khobar. It said both cases were in close contact with camels and both were in critical condition.

The ministry said two expatriates, one 37-year-old man in a government hospital in Riyadh and a 46-year-old man in Buraidah, have both recovered and were discharged from hospital in good health.

Dr. Mohammad al-Ghamdi, head of the department of infectious diseases at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, said there is only one confirmed case of coronavirus in the hospital that was referred to them by King Abdulaziz University Hospital.

He did not specify the gender but said the case had come from outside Jeddah, is in a critical condition and is connected to an artificial respiratory machine in intensive care.

Al-Ghamdi said there are other six suspected cases that have been quarantined and are currently being tested.

He said a woman who contracted swine flu has been confined to the ICU. He did not identify the woman but said her condition was critical.

Meanwhile, chairman of the ministry’s command and control center Dr. Abdulaziz Abdullah Bin Saeed said the ministry has been using the Hisn electronic system in all government and private hospitals to check all suspected coronavirus cases.

He said the cases will be kept in the hospitals until the medical checkups have confirmed whether they are infected or not.

Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), in a press conference in Riyadh on Saturday appreciated the measures taken by the ministry to contain the spread of the virus.

He said he had noted a remarkable improvement in these measures since his last visit.

“There are command and control centers in about 20 areas and the arrangements for tests are commendable,” he added.

Fukuda described the virus to still be ambiguous and said infections were being reported in the Kingdom and some other countries.

He said: “The WHO is still dealing with the coronavirus as an emergency event which is not causing international anxiety. “A number of world organizations have joined hands to curb it.”

Since the virus was first discovered in the Kingdom in September 2012, a total of 902 people have contracted it and almost 390 patients have died of it since then.

(With Okaz)

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on February 23, 2015.

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