On Monday, South Korea reported its sixth death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome as authorities were reinforcing measures to stop the spread of the virus.
The ministry also reported 23 new cases, enduring a total of 87 people affected by the disease. Among these was the first minor, a 16-year-old boy, to contract the virus since the outbreak began on May 20.
The country’s health ministry confirmed that an 80-year-old man who died Monday became the country’s sixth MERS death. It’s only earlier on that day, the man had been diagnosed with the deadly virus.
The South Korean government earlier closed about 1,870 schools in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.
More than 2,300 South Koreans have so far been quarantined at home or state-run facilities after having contact with patients infected with the disease. It’s the largest epidemic outside the Middle East.
Departing from its earlier policy, on Sunday the government disclosed the names of the 24 hospitals where the MERS patients have been diagnosed or had been treated before their condition was confirmed. In this way, people who have visited those facilities in recent weeks will be able to report themselves if they are showing symptoms of MERS, officials said.
Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-Hwan told a news conference Sunday that there was no reason to believe that the virus would significantly spread further in the country.
Furthermore, he called the outbreak “controllable,” intensifying that “the government will take all preemptive measures necessary to minimize any negative impact on the economy.”
“So far, all the MERS cases have been hospital-associated, and there has been no case of an infection in other social settings. We think we have a chance at putting the outbreak under total control,” Choi expressed.