S Korea gives first MERS deaths: two dead

South Korea faces first two deaths of MERS case, warning citizens not to travel to Middle East over outbreak concerns

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The first two deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were reported in South Korea on Tuesday, as the country raised alert after the virus affected people in the last two weeks.

The South Korean Health Ministry said a 58-year-old woman, who had been the first patient, and a 71-year-old man died.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said on Tuesday that South Korea is now the third country which has the highest number of MERS cases after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Hyundai Motor, the world’s one of the biggest automakers, spokesman said the company has asked its employees to avoid traveling to the Middle East over the MERS concerns, as the South Korean government was also considering a ban on overseas travel as the nearly 700 people have been isolated for possible infection.

"As this is a matter directly linked to the public's lives and safety, we will bring together all our health-related capabilities now and work to dissolve anxiety and concerns quickly," said South Korean Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) put the total number of MERS cases in the world as 1,154, with at least 431 related deaths, however, South Korea has no risk of human-to-human spread.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said some travel agencies have started to cancel trips to the country over the outbreak’s concerns.


TRTWorld and agencies