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The New Arab

Saudi Arabia denies case of deadly China coronavirus

Around 830 people have contracted the virus so far [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 January, 2020

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Hundreds of people have contracted the deadly new virus this month, most of them elderly people in China.
Saudi Arabia said on Thursday there were no cases of coronavirus in the kingdom, denying reports of an Indian woman who had tested positive for the deadly SARS-like infection that has killed more than 20 people so far.

India's minister of state for external affairs had earlier said that an Indian nurse working at a hospital in southwestern Saudi Arabia had contracted the virus and was being treated.

The Saudi Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has denied the report, saying in a tweet that there have been no reported cases of the novel coronavirus.

A separate statement from the kingdom's health ministry said the Indian nurse was being treated for an infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Reuters reported.

"The ministry has taken all the precautionary measures to deal with this global issue and is in close coordination with all concerned entities," the statement read.

More than 800 people have contracted the new virus since it emerged in China's Wuhan, with at least 26 people dead on Friday according to the National Health Commission.

It has since been detected in Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the United States.

So far, the majority of the victims were elderly individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes and liver cirrhosis.

Countries in the Gulf have said they will start screening passengers from China following the outbreak of the new virus, as health authorities around the world work to prevent a global pandemic. 

Turkey said on Wednesday that it had also prepared thermal cameras and other precautions against the spread of the virus.

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