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South Korea reports first MERS deaths as officials scramble to contain outbreak

Posted by on 08/07/2019

A 58-year-old woman, who had contact with South Korea’s first patient, died of acute respiratory failure on Monday, the Health Ministry said.

南宁桑拿

A 71-year-old man who had been on respiratory support with a history of kidney ailments also died.

The ministry reported new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 25. South Korea now has the third highest number of cases after Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

South Korean authorities were considering a ban on overseas travel for the nearly 700 people isolated for possible infection.

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor, the world’s fifth-biggest automaker together with affiliate Kia Motors, has asked employees to avoid traveling to the Middle East over concerns about MERS, a company spokesman said.

“As this is a matter directly linked to the public’s lives and safety, we will bring together all our health-related capabilities now and work to dissolve anxiety and concerns quickly,” said Choi Kyung-hwan, the country’s finance minister and deputy prime minister.

Choi said the credibility of the government was at stake, after criticism grew against authorities for failing to contain the spread of the virus after the first patient’s symptoms were initially overlooked.

First identified in humans in 2012, MERS is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China’s deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). There is no cure or vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week there had been no sustained human-to-human spread in South Korea, and that it was not recommending screening of passengers or the imposition of travel or trade restrictions.

WHO put the total number of cases globally at 1,154, with at least 431 related deaths.

China last week reported its first MERS case. A South Korean man who tested positive after breaking a voluntary house quarantine last week, flying to Hong Kong and then traveling to mainland China.

Chinese health authorities have said it was likely the disease would spread as the infected South Korean patient had taken a bus from Hong Kong, crossed a busy border checkpoint and stayed in a hotel before being taken to a hospital.

Some tour agencies have started seeing overseas groups cancelling trips to South Korea, Yonhap news agency said, with a group of 300 Chinese scrapping a visit this week.

First identified in humans in 2012, MERS is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China’s deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). There is no cure or vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week there had been no sustained human-to-human spread in South Korea, and that it was not recommending screening of passengers or the imposition of travel or trade restrictions.

WHO put the total number of cases globally at 1,154, with at least 431 related deaths.

China last week reported its first MERS case. A South Korean man who tested positive after breaking a voluntary house quarantine last week, flying to Hong Kong and then traveling to mainland China.

Chinese health authorities have said it was likely the disease would spread as the infected South Korean patient had taken a bus from Hong Kong, crossed a busy border checkpoint and stayed in a hotel before being taken to a hospital.

Some tour agencies have started seeing overseas groups cancelling trips to South Korea, Yonhap news agency said, with a group of 300 Chinese scrapping a visit this week.

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