Saudi Arabia Reports 8 More MERS Deaths as Toll Tops 100

Saudi Arabia reported eight more deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome as the number of cases in the outbreak climbed to 339 and the death toll exceeded 100 people.

Centers to treat and isolate patients infected with coronavirus have been set up at the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh, King Abdullah Medical Complex in Jeddah, and Dammam Medical Complex in the Eastern Province. More centers will be opened in other parts of the country.

“This step comes as part of an emergency plan aiming to contain the spread of the virus,” acting Health Minister Adel Faqih said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

At least 102 people in the kingdom have died from MERS since it emerged in September 2012, according to the Ministry of Health. The viral respiratory illness can be spread between people in close contact and has been found in camels, the U.S.- based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

Saudi Education Minister Khalid Alfaisal ordered schools to cooperate with the ministry of health and to take preventative measures, Okaz newspaper reported.

The health ministry sent text messages to the country’s 30 million residents this month to alert them to the dangers of the disease. The virus has spread to southeast Asia, killing a Malaysian man who visited Saudi Arabia, according to the World Health Organization.

Egypt state-run media reported the country’s first case of MERS April 26. It said an Egyptian man was admitted to hospital after arriving from Riyadh, where he had been living for four years.

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