South Korea reports 15th MERS death, 7 new cases
Iran Press TV
Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:16PM
Another person has died of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea, pushing the death toll from the deadly outbreak in the East Asian state to 15.
South Korean health officials confirmed the death of the latest MERS victim on Sunday, saying that the 62-year-old man, who had been diagnosed with the virus on June 7, died in a hospital in the southern port city of Busan city.
The South Korean Health Ministry also confirmed seven new MERS cases, bringing the number of those infected with the disease nationwide to 145.
Among the new cases was a paramedic who helped take a MERS patient to the hospital earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Samsung Medical Center, a major hospital and the epicenter of more than 70 cases in Seoul, temporarily suspended most operations in order to prevent further infections among patients and medical staff, according to the president of the medical center, Song Jae-hoon.
"We offer our deep apology and express regret to all of our patients who were infected here and those placed under quarantine," Song said.
The hospital will announce later this month whether or not to extend the current suspension.
The Samsung hospital has come under immense criticism in the country for failing to stem the spread of MERS among its patients and personnel.
More than 400 patients, families and medical staff who have been to the hospital recently were placed under quarantine. This brings the number of people being quarantined by South Korean authorities to nearly 5,000.
There is no vaccine currently available for the virus. It spreads through close contact with infected people.
MERS is considered a deadlier, but less infectious cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed some 800 people in a 2003 epidemic in Asia.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus has a fatality rate of around 35 percent.
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