As the situation in the nation has been getting worse, the South Korean government has decided to close schools and suspended classes in over 200 primary schools in the country. The MERS virus has infected 30 people already 2 of whom have died.
The World Health Organization predicted that the situation will still get worse. Meanwhile the government of President Park Geun-Hye which was under fire for being so slow in responding to the crisis, called a meeting to thresh out the most effective way in dealing with the situation.
Five more people were infected overnight, making this outbreak the largest Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outside of Saudi Arabia.
New infections are reported everyday which has caused a lot of anxiety nationwide. The alarm has spread to all urban areas and residents’ are being seen stocking up on face masks and hand sanitizers have become an instant hit.
.Several public functions were cancelled and the more than 1,360 people who were already affected by the disease directly or indirectly have been quarantined in varying degrees according to how serious is there infection.
Public health officials were lambasted by Park for their seemingly slow and indifferent reaction to the crisis. The incident which began when a man infected by MERS was able to travel from China back to South Korea. Doctors gave warning about the effect that it might bring to the country but the health officials did nothing to contain it.
MERS has no known cure or vaccine up to now and maybe be more lethal than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, another Middle East Viral Disease, but less infectious.
Hwang Woo-Yea, South Korea’s Minster of Education had announced the temporary closure of primary schools as he instructed all heads of the country’s to ensure that school children are amply protected.
“Infection among students should be prevented at any cost … we need far stronger measures at schools than anywhere else,” Hwang said.
The first two deaths reported involved a woman who was 58 years old and the other was a man who was 71 years old. The initial case was a 68 year old man returning home from Saudi Arabia. This was in May 20.
“Given the number of clinics and hospitals that cared for the index case, further cases can be expected,” the WHO said in a in a press release emanating from Geneva on Tuesday.
The UN health agency, the WHO, reported it was closely following up the outbreak of what it described as an “emerging disease that remains poorly understood.”
MERS has now victimized approximately 1,161 people around the world, with 436 dying as a result. Over 20 countries have been affected by MERS virus, with most cases in Saudi Arabia.