While 16 people worldwide have died from the new SARS-related virus, 23 cases including infections and deaths have been documented in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Britain, and Germany. Out of these four locations, Saudi Arabia is seeing a majority of the cases.

According to a BBC report, the Saudi Health Ministry reported that at least five people have died from the new coronavirus in the eastern province of Ahsaa.

The Saudi Health Ministry stated that it is taking "all precautionary measures for persons who have been in contact with the infected people... and has taken samples from them to examine if they are infected." It announced that there are two infected people currently under treatment.

Health agencies are on alert because of the risk seen in the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003, during which more than 800 people died worldwide and more than 8,000 were infected.

This new coronavirus was first identified in the UK after a patient died under mysterious circumstances last summer. After the genome of the virus was sequenced, cases were identified and confirmed in new patients.

Fears of human-to-human transmission were raised when an individual, who had not traveled outside the UK, had become ill after another member, who had visited Saudi Arabia, was in the hospital with respiratory symptoms.

The mortality rate for the virus is more than 50 percent and the risks are deadlier than the bird flu currently moving through China. It seems, however, that this virus is not as easily transmissible between humans and between animals and humans.