Particles of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus that emerged in 2012 are seen in an undated colorized transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). (Reuters)
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health has recorded a death and three new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, taking the number of cases in the Kingdom to 1,003 since 2012.
According to an official from the ministry, a Saudi aged 71 died in Riyadh. The patients who tested positive for the infection are from Hofuf and Aflaj. So far, 437 people have died and 559 patients have recovered from the illness.
The official said the number of cases recorded this year is less than the corresponding period last year. However, he added that the ministry will continue its vigilance and take every effort to keep the virus under control.
He said various laboratories in the Kingdom have tested a total of 1,380 samples and the number of positive cases were much less than expected.
Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Al-Mirghalani said the ministry has opened a 24-hour hotline, 937, to help the public in any matters related to the virus. He pointed out that the caller will be assured of his privacy and authorities will offer their services through this line.
The official explained that there are three major hospitals in Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah that have been designated as centers of excellence in treating corona patients. In addition to these facilities, the ministry has assigned 20 more hospitals in different regions to look after corona patients.