South Korea’s quarantine law is in full effect

There are more than 1,300 people, after coming into contact with confirmed or suspected sufferers of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), have been quarantined in their homes or at hospitals and medical facilities.

The number of the case increased to 30 people after an additional of five case is confirmed, two of whom have died. Out of the 28 remaining cases, three patients are in critical condition, an official declared.

The outbreak started on May 20 with a patient who had visited several countries in the Middle East.

Among the 1,312 people at government-designated quarantine facilities or in their homes, 398 have shown symptoms like fever and respiratory problems and are being tested.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare anticipates that additional cases would be reported, but it should retains the view in order not threaten the public because all spread happened in hospitals.

But as the quantity of assumed cases rises, the ministry said it was considering designating several hospitals exclusively for MERS treatment and tests.

President Park Geun-hye called an emergency meeting with related ministers to review quarantine measures and discuss further action.

“We have to check what the problem is so far, what the current situation is and what measures we can take,” Park said. “And then we should let people know such information.”

The government will create a taskforce comprised of experts from the private sector and officials from the health ministry to control the situation and stop the spread of the virus. It will be assisted by a support group jointly organized by relevant ministries.

The Ministry of National Defense expressed it would delay reserve forces training for those who had recently returned from the Middle East or had visited hospitals treating confirmed patients.

People who visited the hospitals or felt sick are being encouraged by the Ministry of Employment and Labor to take paid sick leave.

Since May 30, the MERS hotlines have been operating and receiving more than 1,100 calls a day.

As public concern rises over a possible epidemic, appeals are mounting for health authorities to disclose the names and locations of medical facilities where patients are being treated and where people are being quarantined. Nonetheless, the government said it would only give the information to medical service providers.


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