In the UK, the number of fatalities linked to the new coronavirus rose by one on Friday, when a Qatari national died in Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. The Telegraph reports that the unnamed man, who was diagnosed with the condition last year, is the third British patient to succumb to the virus that has so far claimed 43 lives worldwide.

"Guy's and St Thomas' can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus (MERS-nCV) sadly died on Friday 28 June, after his condition deteriorated, despite every effort and full supportive treatment," said Robin Wilkinson, a spokesman for the hospital.

The two other deaths occured earlier this year, when a 39-year-old man and his father both died within the span of a month. The father had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, where researchers currently locate the virus’ epicenter.

"We still don't know exactly what killed him," said Dr Jon Bible, a virus expert at Guy’s and Thomas’ Hospital. “In the end his lungs were worn down, so secondary infection is the real problem. The virus effectively turns your lungs to jelly."

The disease, which is communicated by people coughing and sneezing, has been spreading at rapid rate, with known cases quadrupling over the past three months. The MERS virus currently exhibits a 65 percent fatality rate among diagnosed patients, and is thus more deadly than SARS, which killed about ten percent of the people infected in 2003. Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, UK, France, Italy and Tunisia have all reported deaths and infections linked to the disease.

The unnamed man’s condition initially showed signs of improvement following treatment inside a “negative pressure room,” which refers to a hospital room that is isolated from the main ventilation system in order to keep contaminated air in one place. Medical personnel tending to the patient were outfitted with protective suits, which were incinerated after use.

Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated shortly thereafter.

"This case shows that we are dealing with an extremely dangerous virus," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told reporters. "This disease is slower-burning than SARS, but we don't yet know what to do about it."

Meanwhile, concerns about a possible pandemic are mounting as the annual Hajj pilgrimage approaches, with an estimated three million Muslims preparing to make the sacred trip to Mecca in October. Health officials fear that the mass gathering in the Saudi Arabian city will allow the virus to spread across the globe at an alarming rate.

"We need to get the facts clear and get the appropriate advice to all your countries where your pilgrims want to go to Mecca," said Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organisation, in May. "It is something quite urgent."