Sars-like virus kills 5 Saudis in past few days, says ministry

RIYADH (AFP) - Five Saudis have died of a new SARS-like virus during the past few days and two more are being treated in an intensive care unit, the health ministry said.

In a statement cited by the Saudi SPA agency late on Wednesday, the ministry said that all the deaths occurred in the Ahsaa province in the oil-rich eastern region of the kingdom.

Known as novel coronavirus or hCoV-EMC, the virus was first detected in mid-2012 and is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in Southeast Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts.