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Tue 3 Mar 2015 01:33 PM

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Saudi Arabia's death toll from MERS reaches 400

Four more people die from deadly virus as Gulf kingdom also reports new infections

Saudi Arabia's death toll from MERS reaches 400
(Getty Images)

Four more people have died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia, bringing the total death count to 400, it has been reported.

The Ministry of Health’s Command and Control Center said on Monday that three of the victims were male Saudis from Ryadh, aged 91, 89 and 60, reports Arab News.

The fourth victim was a 45-year-old foreign expat living in Buraidah. All four fatalities had pre-existing diseases, it was claimed.

Meanwhile four new infections were reported in Riyadh on Monday: three Saudis — a 61-year-old woman, a 63-year-old man and another male aged 53 — and a 57-year-old expat male. Two of the cases were listed to be in “critical” condition, the newspaper said.

There have been at least 1,026 recorded infections and 376 deaths since the virus was detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012, according to United Nations figures.

Saudi has launched a campaign to raise awareness of MERS but the ministry said yesterday that “efforts to educate professionals and the public are urgently needed”.

It follows news last week that a UN team is investigating the sharp rise in MERS cases in the kingdom.

Saudi officials have not done enough to research and control the deadly virus, Reuters said.

Also last week, a hospital in Riyadh was temporarily shut down for ignoring guidelines on managing MERS, according to Arab News.

“We cannot compromise with the health of the people,” Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mirghalani was quoted as saying.

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