06/08/2015, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
Send to a friend

Seoul, MERS "national emergency": six deaths and 87 confirmed cases of infection

The Ministry of Health quarantines more than 2,350 people and 1,900 schools closed as a precaution. The government invites those who have visited the facilities affected by the Coronavirus to present themselves to the authorities. Seoul accused of trying to cover up mis-management of the first phase of the infection.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The South Korean government has confirmed the sixth death caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and 23 new infections, bringing the total to 87.

With these numbers, the Health Ministry has stated that the situation is now a "national emergency". The country is second in the world rankings with most infections, exceeding the UAE and on a par with Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is caused by the coronavirus and looks like a disease very similar to Sars – which flared up in 2003 – it killed at least a thousand people. However, the Mers virus would be far more deadly than the previous one: in fact, the death rate is around 50%, compared with 10% of SARS.

The strain that hit South Korea exploded about two weeks ago. Despite the criticism and demands of the population, the government led by Park Geun-hye maintained an attitude of "total privacy" on the identity of the victims and even their geographic location. According to critics, Seoul has actually tried to "cover up" the progress of the disease (such as China during the SARS crisis).

After the fifth death, the government changed its strategy. The Ministry of Health has opened a toll-free emergency number and called on "all those who have visited Seoul’s two medical centers of Kyung Hee and Konkuk universities " to present themselves for inspection. Currently there are just over 2,350 people in quarantine and about 1,900 schools closed as a precaution.

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
12/02/2016 15:14
Seoul, 200 schools closed. 30 confirmed cases and two deaths from Mers respiratory syndrome
03/06/2015
For Daejeon bishop, the government has failed to be forthright on the true risks of MERS
11/06/2015
Seoul, card. Yeom to doctors caring for MERS patients: “Our country takes pride in you”
10/07/2015
Threat of epidemic: thousands infected, strict controls on Chinese schools and child care centres
05/05/2008


Newsletter

Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”