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MERS virus outbreak over in South Korea

July 28, 2015, 9:26 UTC+3 SEOUL
According to the country's PM, after carefully considering different factors, the authorities and medics have reached a conclusion that the coronavirus does not threaten people in South Korea any more
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© TASS/EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

SEOUL, July 28. /TASS/. South Korea has declared a "de facto end" to the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS) on Tuesday.

After carefully considering different factors, the authorities and medics have reached a conclusion that the coronavirus does not threaten people in South Korea any more, the country’s Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said.

On Monday, quarantine was lifted from the last patient that could have contracted MERS. More than 16,700 people were quarantined in the country at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

No new cases were registered over the last 23 days, the prime minister noted. Since May 20, when the first MERS case was registered in South Korea, 36 people died and 186 were infected. The virus was brought by a South Korean national returning from a trip to the Middle East.

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory infection caused by the newly identified MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that is new to humans. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to other countries, including Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France — 23 in all, where more than 1,100 MERS cases have been officially registered, of which 40% ended in patients’ deaths.

Most MERS-CoV patients develop severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and trouble breathing. About 3-4 out of every 10 MERS patients die. MERS-CoV is spread through close contact.

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