OPN_190412- Riyadh at night gener Saudi Arabi
Riyadh at night. Image Credit: Agency

Cairo: Saudi Arabia will start screening passengers arriving from China and take other preventive measures following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, the kingdom’s health ministry said on Wednesday.

Deaths from China’s new flu-like virus rose to 17 on Wednesday with more than 540 cases confirmed, increasing fears of spreading contagion from an infection suspected of originating from illegally traded wildlife.

The virus, which first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and can pass from person-to-person, has been reported in Thailand, Japan and South Korea, raising concerns about its spread through international air travel.

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The United States reported its first case on Tuesday in an American who had travelled to Wuhan.

Saudi’s health ministry is coordinating with the country’s civil aviation regulator to evaluate passengers arriving on direct and indirect flights from China, it said on Twitter.

It also advised individuals travelling to affected cities to avoid markets and dead or live animals.