A health ministry statement said eight of the people
were in intensive care, two were stable, including a 24-year-old
Saudi man from the "holy capital" Mecca, and one showed no symptoms.
Three of those affected worked in health care, it said.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed a jump in the rate of infection with the
virus in recent weeks, with many of the new cases recorded in
Jeddah, the kingdom's second largest city.
Of Wednesday's 11 new cases, four were recorded in the Saudi capital
Riyadh, six in Jeddah — the second largest city and the main entry
point for pilgrims visiting nearby Mecca — and one in Mecca itself,
the statement said.
The jump in Saudi cases is of particular concern as the country is
expected to see a large influx of pilgrims from around the world in
July during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, followed in early
October by the arrival of millions of people to perform the annual
Haj in Mecca and Medina.
The latest cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the
kingdom to 272, of whom 81 have died.
MERS emerged in the Middle East in 2012 and is from the same family
as the SARS virus, which killed around 800 people worldwide after
first appearing in China in 2002. MERS can cause coughing, fever and
Although the worldwide number of MERS infections is fairly small,
the more than 40 percent death rate among confirmed cases and the
spread of the virus beyond the Middle East is keeping scientists and
public health officials on alert.
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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah replaced the health minister on
Monday amid growing public disquiet at the spread of the disease. A
day before his dismissal, Abdullah al-Rabeeah said there were no
cases of the virus in Mecca.
Labour Minister Adel Fakieh, who has been appointed as acting health
minister, said on Wednesday he had just returned from a visit to the
King Fahd hospital in Jeddah where a number of coronavirus patients
are being treated.
Fakieh said he was pleased that a number of patients, including
doctors, were recovering but said that there were a few critical
cases still receiving medical care.
(Reporting by Maha El Dahan; editing by Yara Bayoumy and Gareth
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