LONDON - A new virus belonging to the same family as the SARS virus that killed 800 people in 2002 has been identified in Britain in a man who had recently been in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday.

The United Nations health body, which issued a statement through its "global alert and response" system, said tests on the patient, a 49-year-old Qatari man, confirmed the presence of a new, or novel, coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes the common cold and SARS.

"Given that this is a novel coronavirus, WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications," the statement said.

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