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S. Korea reports jump in MERS infections

Selasa 09 Jun 2015 12:08 WIB

Red: Julkifli Marbun

Partikel-partikel Virus Mers.

Partikel-partikel Virus Mers.

Foto: igns of illness, U.S. health officials said on Saturday.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, SEOUL -- South Korea reported a jump in cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Monday while an 80-year-old man became the sixth fatality from the outbreak in the country and other Asian nations began taking preventive measures against the disease.

South Korean authorities closed nearly 2,000 schools and said fewer than 10 people who had broken quarantine rules were located and taken back home. In a couple of cases, they were located through cellphone tracking.

Malaysia advised its nationals to avoid South Korea and Singapore postponed or cancelled all school trips to the country, although the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said she believed Seoul would be able to control the further spread of the virus by taking appropriate measures.

The Health Ministry announced 23 new infections, bringing the total to 87. South Korea now has the second highest number of infections in the world after Saudi Arabia, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The latest MERS patient to die in South Korea was hospitalised for pneumonia when he was infected, officials in the city of Daejeon said. He was confirmed to have contracted the virus from another patient at a hospital.

Underlining concern about the spread of the disease, South Korean authorities said they would track the cellphones of about 2,500 people under quarantine who may have been in contact with patients. Some of those under quarantine are in healthcare facilities although most are at home.

Jeong Eun-kyeong, a South Korean disease control center official, said local health officials and police were keeping tabs on those quarantined.

"We are actively tracing their locations, cooperating with police or using other methods. We did cellphone tracking in a couple of cases. For contacts we must find, we will request location tracking and receive data," Jeong told reporters.

Local health officials have found some people, fewer than 10, who had broken quarantine and taken them back home, Jeong said, adding that those who break the rules can be fined.


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