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France Reports First Death From Coronavirus; WHO Stresses Need For Countries To Work Together

“France reported its first death from the new SARS-like coronavirus on Tuesday, and Saudi Arabia, where the virus first emerged last year, said there were five new cases,” Reuters reports (Savary, 5/28). The man, “whose illness was identified May 8 after he returned from a visit to the United Arab Emirates, died Tuesday,” the Associated Press writes (5/28). “The man was diagnosed with the virus strain, known as [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)], … after being admitted to hospital on April 23, shortly after his return from Dubai, with what seemed at first to be a severe stomach bug and breathing problems,” Reuters adds (5/28). “While hospitalized, he infected a neighboring patient who remains hospitalized,” according to the New York Times (Sayare, 5/28).

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan “has sounded the alarm over [the] novel coronavirus, and stressed the need for countries to work together to adequately address the threat posed by the rare illness,” the U.N. News Centre reports (5/28). The novel coronavirus “‘is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself,’ [Chan] said Monday in her closing remarks at the 66th World Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland,” CNN notes (5/28). “She announced that joint WHO missions with Saudi Arabia and Tunisia will take place as soon as possible with the aim of gathering all the facts needed to conduct a proper risk assessment,” the U.N. News Centre adds (5/28). The health agency “said on Friday that it would help Saudi Arabia dig deeper into deadly outbreaks of [the] virus to draw up advice ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage, which attracts millions of Muslims,” Reuters writes in a separate article (Nebehay, 5/24).