A timeline of SARS-like virus

The new coronavirus, which first emerged in June 2012 and has been named by the World Health Organisation the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV), has infected in less than a year 44 people around the world, of whom 24 have died.

The virus is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in east Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts and eventually killing some 800 people.

A timeline:

- June 2012: The new virus emerges in Saudi Arabia, where a patient suffering from respiratory problems dies. In September the virus is identified as the new coronavirus nCoV.

- September: The WHO says that a Qatari man is critically ill in a London hospital after contracting an infection similar to SARS. It says the man, who fell ill after a visit to Saudi Arabia, is suffering from acute respiratory infection and kidney failure.

Riyadh says there has been another fatal case of the virus.

- November: Four new cases, one of which is fatal, are reported to the WHO, of which three are in Saudi Arabia and one in Qatar.

Scientists in the Netherlands say the virus is closely related to a virus found in Asian bats.

- February, 2013: A person suffering from the virus dies in Britain. The victim appears to have caught the virus from a family member who visited the Middle East and Pakistan.

Two patients die in Jordan.

- March: A 70-year-old Saudi citizen who has been transferred to Germany for treatment dies in Munich of the virus.

The WHO reiterates calls on its member states to remain vigilant for cases of severe acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

- May 7: The first case of the virus is registered in France in a 65-year-old man who has returned from Dubai.

On the 12, the transmission from person to person is confirmed with the infection of the person he is sharing a room with.

- May 10: A man travelling from Saudi Arabia who was infected with the coronavirus dies in Tunisia.

- May 15: The WHO says two Saudi health workers contract the deadly coronavirus from patients.

- May 23: The WHO voices deep concern over the virus, saying it might potentially spread more widely between humans. It redubs it the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

- May 26: An 81-year-old woman who had contracted the coronavirus dies in Saudi Arabia, raising the death toll in the kingdom to 18, mostly in the east.

- May 28: France's first casualty of the virus dies.