South Korea calls more checks against MERS

Seoul, Sep 24 (IANS) South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Thursday called for tighter monitoring to detect possible Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) patients.

“The number of South Koreans visiting the country is also expected to rise in line with religious events to be held in Saudi Arabia,” Hwang said, urging tighter scanning of passengers for fever and other MERS symptoms at major airports.

The MERS outbreak claimed 36 lives in South Korea earlier this year, the second largest infection outside Saudi Arabia, Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea declared a de facto end to the MERS outbreak on July 28, about two months after its first case was reported on May 20.

MERS is a viral disease that is still fairly new to humans. No vaccine or treatment is currently available for the disease, which has a high fatality rate of around 36 percent globally.

In South Korea, the fatality rate of the disease remains at 19.4 percent.

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