Saudi coronavirus death toll hits 18

The World Health Organization says it is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus.

A Saudi woman has died from a SARS-like virus coronavirus, raising the death toll in the kingdom to 18, the Saudi Arabian Health Ministry has announced.

“An 81-year-old woman who was suffering from kidney failure as well as other chronic illnesses has died” in the eastern Al-Ahsaa region after contracting coronavirus, which is related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the ministry said in a statement issued on Sunday.

On Tuesday, a foreigner also died of the virus in Saudi Arabia, it said.

On May 14, the ministry said that a total of 30 people were infected by the deadly coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, and 15 of them died.

The novel coronavirus, also known as nCoV-EMC, is a cousin of SARS. The virus first emerged in the Middle East, and was discovered on September 2012 in a Qatari man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.

Cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Britain and Germany, and health officials have said the virus has likely already spread between people in some circumstances.

Health authorities are trying to find out how humans are contracting and spreading the virus and what is the best remedy to treat it.

According to the reports, most patients diagnosed with the virus are elderly men.

It does not appear to be as contagious as SARS, which killed some 800 people in a 2003 epidemic.

The novel coronavirus is most closely related to a bat virus. Scientists are considering whether bats or other animals like goats or camels are a possible source of infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised countries to test any people with unexplained pneumonia.

Last week, WHO officials said at least 22 people have died from coronavirus worldwide out of 44 cases.

GJH/AS

This article originally appeared on: Press TV