30 soldiers quarantined amid S.Korean MERS outbreak

S. Korean serviceman being tested for MERS, while country’s first outbreak of the deadly disease reaches 15 confirmed cases

30 soldiers quarantined amid S.Korean MERS outbreak

World Bulletin / News Desk 

South Korea’s MERS outbreak faced a new potential crisis Sunday as dozens of troops were quarantined while a fellow soldier was being tested for the deadly respiratory illness.

The private first class recently came into contact with his mother, who is one of 15 South Koreans now confirmed to have come down with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) this month.

According to local news agency Yonhap, a defense ministry official revealed that the soldier was showing no worrying symptoms but “just reported that he spent time together with his mother while on leave earlier this month.”

South Korea had never seen a case of the coronavirus before a 68-year-old man was diagnosed less than two weeks ago after returning from a trip to the Middle East.

Caused by a strain of coronavirus, the disease has killed around 40 percent of its sufferers since it was first recognized in Saudi Arabia in 2012 -- though the illness has not yet claimed any lives in South Korea.

Also on Sunday, Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo said sorry to the public for causing concern due to the government’s “initial judgment on the contagiousness of MERS”.

While recognizing the importance of the coming week, Moon told reporters that a joint task force would be launched for “all-out efforts against the disease”.

Criticisms of the government’s response to the outbreak have been mounting, after the initial failure to effectively protect other patients, hospital visitors, and medical staff when the first man was diagnosed.

Another man in his 40s was even able to travel to China despite being considered at risk -- he tested positive for MERS on Friday.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Mayıs 2015, 12:07