A virus in the same family as SARS that killed 800 people and infected over 8,000 globally in 2002 has been reported to kill two more in Saudi Arabia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The death toll in Saudi Arabia climbed to 11 while the global tally reached 18, with 30 people confirmed by genetic tests as infected. This makes the mortality rate for the novel coronavirus 60 percent, far above the 10 to 20 percent seen in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed as many as 25 million people.

Although the virus has only impacted a limited number of individuals, evidence that it could spread not only from its original source but also between people has raised fears in the medical community.

The virus is thought to have originated in Saudi Arabia and is related to a virus found in bats.

WHO urged its member states to remain vigilant in monitoring respiratory infections and has not instituted travel restrictions. It has also stated that special screening at country points of entry are not advised at this time.

The virus was able to be tracked because its genome was sequenced after the first patient died under mysterious circumstances in the UK over the summer. All subsequent patients who were suspected of infection have been tested using this information, which is publically valuable to international health organizations.

WHO's press release can be read here.