Two more people have died from novel coronavirus in al-Ahsa, eastern Saudi Arabia, government health officials said on Sunday. This raises the death toll to 15 out of 24 cases that have been confirmed of the novel coronavirus, a new strain of the virus similar to the one that caused SARS.
The outbreak of the virus has been clustered in the region of al-Ahsa, an oasis near the Arabian Gulf coast. Saudi Arabia has been previously criticized for failing to promptly report the spread of the virus, an allegation that officials here has denied. Other cases have been reported in neighboring UAE as well as in France, Britain and Germany.
“The Ministry has informed everyone in a professional and transparent manner, and continued to publish all the cases that have been confirmed,” Saudi Minister of Health Abdullah al-Rabeeah said in a statement today. “Since the discovery of this vague virus, the Ministry has communicated with experts inside and outside the country and with the World Health Organization.”
WHO experts visited al-Ahsa this week to help Saudi health officials investigate the latest coronavirus outbreak. WHO said in a statement on Sunday that the “pattern of person-to-person transmission has remained limited to some small clusters and so far, there is no evidence that this virus has the capacity to sustain generalized transmission in communities.”
WHO also noted that the Saudi government “has taken the novel coronavirus situation very seriously.”