China’s first and only Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) case will be released on Friday after fully recovering from the infection, according to the South Korean Health Ministry.
The 44-year-old South Korean man rejected a recommendation from South Korean health authorities to stay in a quarantine room and travelled to Huizhou city in China through Hong Kong in May.
Shortly after his arrival in China he tested positive for the MERS virus which was caught from the another sufferer, his father. He was placed under quarantine in a Chinese hospital in the city of Huizhou and his condition gradually improved.
The discharge of the South Korean man from hospital will bring the total number of people who have recovered from this outbreak of MERS to 82, with sixty nine infectees remaining under quarantine in hospitals.
The death toll from MERS reached 31 in South Korea after two more MERS cases were confirmed by the South Korean Health Ministry on Friday. This increases the total number of cases in this outbreak to 181.
The fatalities were mostly among the elderly and already seriously unhealthy patients, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry preferred this week not to offer its view of whether the current situation whether it is optimistic or not. Last week it said that the outbreak may have levelled off.
The MERS coronavirus shares the same family of viruses with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which caused the deaths of more than 800 people and infected nearly 8,000 others worldwide between 2002-2003.
MERS does not spread from human to human easily but its fatality rate is much higher than that of SARS, with 38 percent of those infected dying, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures.