Deadly new virus found on Saudi Arabia locals, tourist
London, United Kingdom (4E) – The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed on Monday that a Qatari man is infected with a new virus that already killed two Saudi nationals.
The new strain of coronavirus, one type of which caused the deadly SARS epidemic in 2003 that killed 800 people around the world, was confirmed by British medical experts in London, where two of the patients were taken for diagnosis.
The 48-year-old Qatari was hospitalized in Doha, Qatar on Sept. 7 after returning from a travel in Saudi Arabia. He was flown to London on Sept. 11.
Based on laboratory tests of his lung tissues, the Health Protection Agency of the UK (HPA) confirmed that the coronavirus on the Qatari was the same virus found by the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Netherlands on a 60-year-old Saudi early this year.
Another Saudi was hospitalized in Jeddah for the same infection, said Saudi Arabia’s Undersecretary of Health for Public Health Ziad al-Memish.
Reports said the Qatari’s kidney has failed.
The WHO is yet to issue a travel restriction to Saudi Arabia pending further assessment of the outbreak and testing of confirmed carriers in the Muslim country.
However, Saudi authorities are now concerned as Saudi Arabia is hosting the annual hajj or pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city of Mecca next month. Saudi health officials are advising pilgrims to take precautions such as cleaning hands and wearing masks.
Meanwhile, Prof. John Watson, head of the HPA’s respiratory diseases department, said there is no case of infection in the U.K. after the arrival of the two patients.