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South Korea Records 8 More MERS Cases, 1 Additional Death; Government Vows To Stop Outbreak

Agence France-Presse: South Korea reports seventh MERS death, vows to end crisis
“South Korea Tuesday reported its seventh death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as the government — concerned about the economic impact — said it hoped to end the crisis this week. Eight new infections brought the total number of cases to 95 in the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia, following the diagnosis of the first patient back on May 20…” (Chan-Kyong, 6/9).

CNN: South Korea MERS outbreak: 7 dead; 2,500 quarantined
“South Korea is grappling with two battles: the virus itself and the public fear over MERS, one official declared…” (Novak/Kim, 6/9).

New York Times: South Korea MERS Cases Rise as Hong Kong Increases Alert Level
“…The health authorities in Hong Kong raised their three-stage response level on Monday from ‘alert’ to ‘serious,’ which means ports of entry will exert tighter arrival controls. The Hong Kong Center for Health Protection posted an advisory about the raised response on its website, urging people to ‘avoid unnecessary travel’ to South Korea…” (Sang-Hun, 6/8).

New York Times: MERS Virus’s Path: One Man, Many South Korean Hospitals
“…The original diagnosis that missed what became South Korea’s first case of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, was possibly caused by incomplete information from the patient about his travels. And the World Health Organization acknowledged that MERS was not an easy virus to identify early because its symptoms are similar to other respiratory infections, like a common cold. But it was especially problematic in South Korea because of peculiarities in the hospital system, health experts said Monday…” (Sang-Hun, 6/8).

NPR: As MERS Outbreak Surges, Genetic Tests Show Virus Hasn’t Mutated
“…One concern has been that the virus might have mutated, becoming more contagious. But this week scientists in China and South Korea report evidence that this isn’t the case…” (Doucleff, 6/8).

Reuters: Hong Kong issues ‘red alert’ against South Korea travel due to MERS
“Hong Kong issued a ‘red alert’ advisory on Tuesday against non-essential travel to South Korea, where eight new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were reported, bringing the total to 95 with seven fatalities. The number of new South Korean cases was a sharp drop from 23 on Monday, but the number of schools closed grew to 2,208, including 20 universities…” (Park/Pomfret, 6/9).

Reuters: South Korea government says ready to counter economic impact of MERS
“The South Korean government on Monday said it is ready to take swift measures to counter the negative effects on its economy from an outbreak of a deadly respiratory disease, suggesting that worried policymakers may soon deliver monetary and fiscal stimulus…” (Kim, 6/8).

Wall Street Journal: South Korea MERS Outbreak Began With a Cough
“…The government has also drawn criticism for its sluggish response to the crisis. ‘I think the spread of MERS could have ended much earlier if we had reacted more thoroughly early on. I feel very sorry about that,’ Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo said at a news conference on Monday…” (Kwaak, 6/8).

Washington Post: South Koreans blame government in spiraling MERS outbreak
“…The spiraling health crisis — and the widespread perception that her administration has been slow and blundering in its response — has led to calls for [President Park Geun-hye] to delay a trip to the United States, set to start Sunday. Her visit is scheduled to include talks at the White House with President Obama on June 16…” (Seo/Fifield, 6/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.