New ‘SARS-like’ coronavirus alert among Thai haj pilgrims


NEW YORK, Sept 27 – Thai Public Health Minister told physicians accompanying Thai pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to be on alert for the new ‘SARS-like’ coronavirus after a 60-year-old Saudi man died after being infected with the virus.

Witthaya Buranasiri, a member of the Thai delegation attending the UN General Assembly in New York, said the Public Health Ministry has also instructed the Thai public to be alert to the contagious virus after the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday urged health workers everywhere to report patients with acute respiratory infection who may have been in Saudi Arabia or Qatar.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes those causing the common cold and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

WHO put out a global alert on Sunday saying a new virus had infected a 49-year-old Qatari who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia, where another man with an almost identical virus had died.

The Qatari remained critically ill in hospital in Britain as of Tuesday, but the WHO said on Wednesday no new case of the new virus had been reported.