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Home / News / World /  Saudi Arabia seeks outside help to combat MERS outbreak

Riyadh/New york: Saudi Arabia said it’s consulting global experts on how to combat a deadly respiratory virus, as the first case was reported in neighbouring Jordan.

Specialists from Germany, France, the UK and the US are helping tackle the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, assistant deputy minister of health Mohammed Zamakhshary said in a telephone interview in Riyadh.

“Every effort is being made to understand its current behaviour and any potential alteration in its behaviour", Zamakhshary said of the coronavirus that causes the illness. Authorities failed to adequately sense the public panic MERS has sparked and address it pre-emptively, he said.

The ministry of health said on Monday on its website that 12 more people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of reported cases in the kingdom to 261. At least 93 have died in Saudi Arabia since September 2012. In Jordan, a 25-year-old Saudi citizen tested positive for the disease and is in a stable condition, the state-run Petra news agency said on Tuesday. The country registered two cases of MERS in 2012.

As it fights the outbreak, Saudi Arabia removed health minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah from office on Monday, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. He’ll be replaced on an acting basis by labour minister Adel Faqih, SPA said.

The virus has spread to Southeast Asia, killing a Malaysian man who visited Saudi Arabia.

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