The Korean Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported today (computer translated) an additional 3 new Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases, and 4 additional MERS-related fatalities, bringing the totals to 165 cases and 23 deaths.
Officials say the latest cases include: A health-care worker who had contact with a confirmed case in Asan Cheongmoo Hospital from June 5 to 9; a health-care worker who had contact with two other confirmed cases in Samsung Medical Center; and a patient in Kyunghee University Hospital at Gangdong.
Despite the increase in cases and fatalities, the ninth meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations concluded that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern have not been met.
The Committee did say that this outbreak is a “wakeup call” and that in a highly mobile world, all countries should always be prepared for the unanticipated possibility of outbreaks of this, and other serious infectious diseases.
In South Korea, the MERS outbreak has affected the tourism industry so badly that the government will offer free traveler insurance that will cover all medical costs if a visitor contracts MERS.
Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel notice for South Korea due to the outbreak.
In Thailand, there are conflicting media accounts of a MERS case in the Kingdom. Channel News Asia reports that a local media report claimed that Thailand’s first case of MERS had been detected in the country. However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that no MERS patient had been diagnosed in Thailand yet.
Apparently, at least one has been tested and found negative and a second test is pending, according to the report.