South Korea Reports 5 New MERS Cases, 1 Death; President Establishes Task Force As More People Quarantined

Agence France-Presse: S. Korea reports third death from MERS outbreak
“South Korea on Thursday reported its third death from an outbreak of the MERS virus that has infected dozens of people, seen hundreds of schools closed and caused thousands to cancel travel plans…” (Ha-Won, 6/3).

Associated Press: More reason for calm than panic in South Korea’s MERS scare
“…The current frenzy in South Korea over MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, brings to mind the other menacing diseases to hit Asia over the last decade — SARS, which killed hundreds, and bird flu. Then, as now, confusion ruled as the media harped on the growing public panic, and health care workers and government officials struggled to understand and contain the diseases, sometimes downplaying the danger, sometimes inadvertently hyping it…” (Klug, 6/4).

CIDRAP News: Five more South Korean MERS cases lift total to 35
“Health officials in South Korea [Wednesday] reported five new MERS-CoV cases, pushing the total in the country’s quickly growing hospital cluster to 35, according to translations of an official report…” (Schnirring, 6/3).

New York Times: Fears of MERS Virus Prompt Broadening of Cautions in South Korea
“Fears of the deadly virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome enveloped South Korea on Wednesday as the authorities nearly doubled the number of quarantined people they say may have been exposed, temporarily closed more than 700 kindergartens and schools, and refused to identify the six hospitals where infections had been confirmed…” (Sang-Hun, 6/3).

Reuters: South Korea reports third MERS death as alarm grows
“South Korea on Thursday confirmed that a man who died a day earlier had been infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the third fatality in a virus outbreak that has fueled growing alarm in the country…” (Park, 6/4).

Reuters: South Korea reports five more cases of MERS, raising total to 35
“…While there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission, the worst-case scenario would be for the virus to change and spread rapidly, as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) did in 2002-2003, killing about 800 people around the world…” (Kim/Park, 6/3).

Washington Post: South Korea quarantines more than 1,300 in race against MERS
“…Amid criticism it has been too slow to respond to the viral illness, which has no vaccine or cure, President Park Geun-hye ordered the establishment of a task force to try to contain the infection and to be more transparent along the way…” (Fifield, 6/3).