Developing

Third suspected case of SARS-like virus in France

French health authorities said Friday they suspected a third person of being infected after coming into contact with a man confirmed to be suffering from a new SARS-like virus that has killed 18 people, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

"We have a third suspected case this morning, a nurse from Douai" in northern France, the deputy director of the regional ARS health agency, Sandrine Segovia Kueny, told France Bleu Nord radio.

A 65-year-old man is in intensive care in a hospital in Douai after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus following a holiday in Dubai.

The patient, who was in Dubai from April 9 to 17, has been placed in isolation and is being given respiratory assistance and blood transfusions.

French health authorities said late Thursday they feared that two people -- a man who who had shared a room in hospital with the patient, and a doctor who treated him -- may also have been infected.

The results of tests conducted on the three people suspected of being infected were due on Friday afternoon, health authorities said.

In the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member, the health ministry said on Friday that no case of the SARS-like virus had been recorded in the Gulf state.

The UAE was "coordinating" with France on the case and "closely following the health situation" although it was "not a concern" in the emirate itself, the ministry said in a statement published by local media.

The virus, known as nCoV-EMC, is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts and killing some 800 people.

It was first detected in September 2012 and since then more than 30 cases have been reported in different countries, with 18 deaths, including 11 in Saudi Arabia.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday reported two new confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia.