Saudi Arabia denies case of coronavirus infection

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Riyadh (Reuters) – A Saudi health ministry affiliate said on Thursday there were no cases of coronavirus in the kingdom, denying earlier reports of an expatriate resident being infected.

Earlier, India’s minister of state for external affairs said an Indian nurse working at a hospital in southwestern Saudi Arabia has been infected by the coronavirus and was being treated, amid an outbreak that has killed 18 people in China.

But the Saudi Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a tweet that there were no cases of the novel coronavirus so far.

The kingdom said on Wednesday it would start screening passengers arriving from China and take other preventive measures following the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

The virus, which can pass from person to person, has been reported in Thailand, Japan and South Korea, raising concerns about its spread through international air travel. More than 630 people have been infected, mostly in China, but cases have been detected as far away as the United States.

Elsewhere in the Gulf region, Qatar called on its citizens in China to exercise caution against the virus, the state news agency reported on Thursday.

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