South Korea au­thor­i­ties re­port third death from MERS out­break

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JUNG HA- WON

South Korea on Thurs­day re­ported its third death from an out­break of the MERS virus that has in­fected dozens of peo­ple, seen hun­dreds of schools closed and caused thou­sands to cancel travel plans.

An 82-year-old man was di­ag­nosed with the MERS virus in a post­hu­mous test af­ter he died in hos­pi­tal on Wed­nes­day night, the health min­istry said in a state­ment.

He was orig­i­nally be­ing treated for asthma and pneu­mo­nia but was placed un­der quar­an­tine af­ter other pa­tients in his ward tested pos­i­tive for Mid­dle East Re­s­pi­ra­tory Syn­drome (MERS).

The lat­est case brought the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple di­ag­nosed with the po­ten­tially deadly virus in South Korea to 36, the largest out­break out­side Saudi Ara­bia.

More than 900 schools, from kinder­gartens to col­leges, have now shut their gates and the gov­ern­ment’s MERS hot­line took more than 3,000 calls on Wed­nes­day as public fears have grown.

Be­fore Thurs­day only two peo­ple — a 58-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man — had died in South Korea from the dis­ease, which has no cure or vac­cine.

The first case, re­ported on May 20, was of a 68-year-old man di­ag­nosed af­ter a trip to Saudi Ara­bia.

Since then, more than 1,660 peo­ple who may have been ex­posed to the virus have been placed un­der vary­ing lev­els of quar­an­tine.

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