MERS Saudi Outbreak

Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread from the Persian Gulf to France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain. (Handout/ National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Canadian Press)

Saudi Arabia says a Saudi man has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 60 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the centre of the outbreak.

The health ministry said that the man died of the coronavirus in a Riyadh hospital on Sunday.

He was among four newly detected cases. That makes for a total of 145 people who have been infected with the virus, also known as  Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, in Saudi Arabia since September 2012, according to the ministry.

The new virus is related to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which killed around 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003. It belongs to a family of viruses that most often causes the common cold. It can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia but also kidney failure.

The virus emerged in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and has since spread from the Persian Gulf to France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.