x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Saudi man dies in latest case of Mers coronavirus

An 83-year-old man from the same southern province was also confirmed to have contracted the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases inside the kingdom to 71, the ministry said.

A Saudi man has died of the coronavirus Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), the Saudi Health Ministry said yesterday, raising the number of deaths from the virus in the kingdom to 39.

"The Ministry of Health has announced the death of one case, who had been previously announced to be infected with this virus in Asir, may Allah have mercy upon him," the ministry said in a statement.

An 83-year-old man from the same southern province was also confirmed to have contracted the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases inside the kingdom to 71, the ministry said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said earlier this month that Mers, which can cause fever, coughing and pneumonia, had not yet reached pandemic potential and may simply die out.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to Saudi Arabia during Ramadan for Umrah, a pilgrimage that can be carried out at any time of year.

Millions are also expected to travel to Mecca for Haj which falls in October this year, but the authorities have cut the number of visas this year, citing safety concerns over expansion work at the holy site.

WHO experts said last month that countries at risk from Mers should put in place plans for handling mass gatherings but has stopped short of recommending restrictions on travel.

Globally, there has been 91 confirmed cases of the Mers virus, killing 46.