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Saudi reports two more virus deaths

Two more patients who contracted a potentially fatal Middle East virus related to Sars have died, Saudi Arabia's health ministry said today.

The ministry said a chronically ill 73-year-old Saudi man died in Riyadh and a 54-year-old Saudi man died in Jeddah.

The deaths bring to at least 81 the number who have died in the kingdom since September 2012.

The ministry also said 17 new cases of the virus have been detected in four cities, bringing to 261 the number of people infected.

Yesterday, King Abdullah sacked the country's health minister without giving a reason.

The kingdom is scrambling to contain the spread of the coronavirus related to Sars, known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or Mers.

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