Lifestyle & Belief

Man dies from coronavirus in Tunisia

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A Saudi health ministry official visits patients infected with a new SARS-like virus at a hospital in the eastern Saudi province of al-Ahsaa on May 13, 2013. Fifteen people in Saudi Arabia have died from the new Coronavirus (nCoV) out of 24 people who contracted it since last August, according to the health minister.

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A sixty-six-year-old Tunisian man has died of coronavirus after paying a visit to Saudi Arabia, the first death and the first recorded case of the novel infectious disease in the African nation. 

The NCoV disease, which is similar to SARS but has important distinctions of its own, appears to be strongest in Saudi Arabia, where it has killed sixteen people — and where the deceased Tunisian man was likely infected.

Read more from GlobalPost: Two now confirmed ill with novel coronavirus in France

The Tunisian victim was diabetic and had been suffering from breathing problems after he returned from his trip, reported the BBC, later dying in the city of Monastir. Two of his children were infected as well, but appear to be responding positively to medical treatment. 

Another Saudi Arabian victim died of NCoV on Monday, reported Al-Arabiya, bringing Saudi Arabia's death toll to sixteen. A nurse who had been affected by the disease appears to be making a recovery. 

"These Tunisia cases haven't changed our risk assessment, but they do show the virus is still spreading," said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl to the Associated Press. 

NCoV cases have been reported in Jordan, Qatar, the UK, Germany and France, with the vast majority appearing in Saudi Arabia. The disease appears to be transmissible from person to person, especially in hospital settings. 

The WHO website states that "all of the European cases have had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East, including two cases with recent travel history from the UAE."