Saudi Arabia reports two new cases of MERS virus


Saudi Arabia has recorded two new cases of the MERS virus, the health ministry said Saturday, a day after authorities in neighboring Qatar reported one new case.

Saudi Arabia so far accounts for 52 of 127 deaths worldwide from Mers, and Qatar for another two.

The two new cases were both Saudi nationals, the ministry reported on its website, one a 72-year-old Riyadh resident with pre-existing health problems and the other a 43-year-old living in the commercial capital of Jeddah.

The case in Qatar regards a 48-year-old foreign resident who is also suffering from chronic illness, health authorities said.

MERS is considered a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, killing around 9 percent of them and sowing economic chaos.

Since MERS first appeared in September last year, virtually of the deaths have been in the gulf or among people who had recently traveled to the region.