(MENAFN - Arab News) A Saudi citizen died of novel coronavirus 10 days ago, according to the latest infectious disease update released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A Health Ministry official confirmed the death but stressed that there was no cause for alarm about the infection as the ministry had already taken all preventive measures to keep the disease under control.
The latest victim was a 39-year-old Saudi man, who had developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus (NCoV) on Feb. 24 and died on March 2, several days after being hospitalized.
It is the fourth such fatality in the Kingdom and the ninth in the world.
There have now been 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection worldwide.
The last death in the Kingdom was that of a Saudi woman, who died on Feb. 10 following 11 days of hospitalization in Riyadh.
The woman had returned from abroad with symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
In September last year, the ministry reported three cases of the virus, two of whom were Saudis while one was from Qatar.
Two of the patients died in Saudi Arabia.
Prior to becoming ill, reports said the Qatari patient had traveled to Saudi Arabia.
He was placed in intensive care in Doha before being transferred to the UK.
The sixth death attributed to coronavirus was a patient in the UK.
That man, who is one of three people in the same family with the virus, was believed to have contracted the illness from a relative.
It was the first case of human-to-human transmission of the virus in the UK.
One of the family members appeared to have contracted the virus from a family member during a recent visit to the Middle East and Pakistan.
The virus, known as novel coronavirus, or NCoV, was unknown in humans until it emerged in the Middle East last year.
WHO first issued an international alert in September 2012 after the virus infected a Qatari man in Britain who had recently been in Saudi Arabia.
In an earlier statement, Dr. Ziad Al-Memish, Undersecretary to the Ministry of Health for Public Health, said that people need not worry about the virus as it is believed that it cannot be transmitted from person-to-person.
Still, he cautioned people to take measures to avoid the virus.
"We are also monitoring the virus in all parts of the Kingdom through the regional directorates of the MOH," he said.
Al-Memish, who is also the chairman of the National Scientific Committee for Infectious Diseases, said that only a few people had been found positive in the world.
Coronaviruses are considered to be one of the common agents of the common cold.
Symptoms of the virus include runny nose, general feeling of illness, mild sore throat, cough, headache, low fever and chills. It can also cause respiratory, intestinal and neurological illness.
The official said coronaviruses are well-known and most of those infected recover completely with no complications after receiving the needed supportive therapy.