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SARS severely disrupted travel across the world in 2003, stopping short the few gains that had been made post-9/11. Getting the latest virus under control is key to preventing a similar slow-down this year.

A 66-year-old Tunisian man has died from new coronavirus, a strain of a virus that emerged in the Middle East last year, after a visit to Saudi Arabia, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

The man, a diabetic, died in hospital in the city of Monastir, ministry spokesman Ibrahim Labassi said. It was the first death in Tunisia from the virus.

“Tests showed that his two sons were infected by the same virus and they are under medical observation,” Labassi said.

The novel coronavirus, also known by the acronym nCoV and as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, or MERS, belongs to the same family as viruses that cause common colds and the one that caused a deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

MERS cases have so far been reported in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Britain, Germany and France, but Saudi Arabia has had the vast majority of cases.

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Tags: health

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