MERS coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia increases to 480, including 139 deaths

Riyadh (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Saudi Arabias registered number of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus cases has increased to 480 by Saturday, including 139 deaths, after adding six new cases and six more deaths, the countrys Health Ministry said.

One of the deaths was diagnosed and died in the last 24 hours, while the rest were of previous critical cases, according to the Health Ministry portal.

Of the six new cases, one is receiving treatment at the ICU, three in stable condition and two without symptoms. Three of the new cases are from Riyadh, two from Jeddah and the rest one from Mecca.

In addition, another six cases, two men and four women, have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital.

Besides those daily statistics, the ministry on Saturday also denied some press reports that the newly appointed acting health minister had been infected with the virus, saying the news are baseless and the minister is in good health.

MERS is considered a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the SARS virus which erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected thousands of people.

The coronavirus was first discovered in mid-2012 in an old man with acute pneumonia and renal failure. It has spread from Gulf countries to North Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe, killing more than a hundred people and infecting hundreds of others.

Saudi Arabia has retained the highest number of MERS cases in the world, registering new cases and deaths almost on a daily basis.