Deaths caused by SARS-like virus rises to 16 in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A man died Monday of the SARS-like coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, bringing the death toll for the respiratory infection in the kingdom to 16, the Health Ministry said.

The man who died in the eastern region of al-Ahsa had also suffered from chronic heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney failure, the ministry said.

Another man who was infected with the virus was treated and discharged from the hospital, it said.

More than 30 people have now been infected with the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, according to government data.

Human coronavirus was first discovered in 2012 in a man in Saudi Arabia, and almost all of the cases reported to the World Health Organization originated in the Arabian Peninsula.

Forty-one coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally from September 2012 to May 18, the WHO said. Twenty of those patients have died.

Several countries in the Middle East have been affected. Cases have also been reported by three countries in Europe: France, Germany and Britain. All of the European cases have had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East, the WHO said.

Coronavirus belongs to the same group of viruses as SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which 10 years ago killed about 800 people.