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Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:57PM
Men wearing surgical masks as a precautionary measure against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), speak at a hospital in Khobar city in Saudi Arabia. (File photo)

Men wearing surgical masks as a precautionary measure against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), speak at a hospital in Khobar city in Saudi Arabia. (File photo)

A man in Saudi Arabia has died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), increasing the number of victims in the kingdom to 56.

Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announced the fatality on its website on Saturday, saying that the 73-year-old man suffered from chronic illnesses.

The ministry also reported three new cases of MERS.

They are two foreign nationals working in healthcare and were exposed to patients suffering from the virus and a Saudi man, 53, who is chronically ill and in intensive care.

Some 136 cases have been reported in the kingdom since the virus appeared over a year ago, the ministry added.

In November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was informed of 152 confirmed cases of MERS across the world, adding that at least 64 people died from the disease by November 4.

MERS-CoV is a cousin of SARS. The virus first emerged in the Middle East and was discovered on September 2012 in a Qatari man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.

Similar cases have been also reported in Jordan, Qatar, Germany, France, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom.

SAB/SS