- 4 updates
Saudi Arabia has confirmed four new cases of the SARS-like novel coronavirus in its Eastern Province, state media reported, citing the health ministry.
The health ministry said one of the four new cases had been treated and the patient had been released from hospital, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia said it had had a total of 24 confirmed cases since the disease was identified last year, of whom 15 had died. In its latest outbreak in its Eastern Province, it said it had had 15 confirmed cases, of whom nine had died.
A second novel coronavirus case in France means a total of 34 laboratory confirmed cases of the infection have been reported to the World Health Organisation.
This includes 18 deaths from the virus, spread across three countries:
- Saudi Arabia - 15
- Jordan - 2
- UK - 1
A second diagnosis of the new SARS-like coronavirus has been confirmed in France, the Health Ministry said, in what appeared to be a case of human-to-human transmission.
The new infection was found in a 50-year-old man who had shared a hospital room with France's only other known sufferer, the ministry added.
"Of most concern," said a World Health Organisation statement, "is the fact that the different clusters seen in multiple countries increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact this novel coronavirus can transmit from person-to-person."
At least 18 people are known to have died from the disease in the Middle East and Europe.
Coronaviruses is one of a family of RNA-containing viruses known to cause severe respiratory illnesses.The HPA said coronaviruses are causes of the common cold but can also include more severe illness, such as the virus responsible for Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
This new virus, however, is different from any that have previously been identified in humans.
In 2003, hundreds of people died after a Sars outbreak in Asia.