Just as I was composing a post about why the silence from Saudi Arabia must reflect an absence of cases, the KSA MOH announces case #142 and death #58: Health: recording cases of one virus (Corona) new in the Riyadh region. A Google translation:
In the context of the work of epidemiological investigation and ongoing follow-up carried out by the Ministry of Health for the virus corona virus that causes AIDS Middle East respiratory announces the Ministry of Health for the registration of the case of HIV infection to health practitioner working in the health sector in the Riyadh region, and at the age of 54 years has died of God's mercy emerged as a positive sample after his death.
This appears to be a confirmation of the twitter rumours on #Corona last week about the death of a doctor on the staff of Prince Salman Hospital.
Update: This must be the Bangladeshi Dr. Mohammed Humayun Kabeer, 55, who Arab News said on January 16 had died of MERS and whose body was being flown home to Dhaka. I've checked the English-language Bangladeshi media several times since then, including just now, and found no mention of the case.
So the Saudis were sitting on this case for some time. Arab News last week seemed confident in citing MERS as the cause of death, so presumably some kind of test results had been announced (or leaked).
Quite apart from this new announcement, the Saudis' communication strategy leaves a lot to be desired. We get no follow-ups on known cases until they die; to judge from the KSA MOH corona page, those not dead of MERS are presumably still hospitalized. We don't even know if Dr. Kabeer was even in contact with a confirmed case.
Nor do we get anything like the number of scientific reports that the Chinese continue to publish. That leaves us with conjecture, and each announced case only reminds us of how little the Saudis are telling the world.