South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called on Wednesday for stronger measures against the inflow of monkeypox after the country reported its first two suspected cases the previous day, an official said.
Yoon instructed health authorities to strengthen quarantine measures for foreign arrivals and to thoroughly monitor the possibility of additional cases, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the presidential official.
Yoon also told health authorities “to be fully ready to swiftly deploy the available vaccines and treatments to the medical front-lines and to complete the introduction of third-generation vaccines and antiviral treatments against monkeypox as soon as possible,” the official said.
Health authorities have been conducting diagnostic tests on the two suspected cases and are expected to announce the results later Wednesday.
One of the suspected patients is a foreigner who arrived in the country Monday, while the other is a South Korean national who arrived Tuesday, they said.
The foreign national was admitted to a hospital in the southeastern city of Busan after complaining of a sore throat, skin lesions and other possible symptoms of the monkeypox virus.
The South Korean arrived at Incheon International Airport from Germany around 4 p.m. Tuesday and reportedly showed symptoms two days before arriving. The person has been admitted to Incheon Medical Center in Incheon, west of Seoul.
The virus, traditionally confined to regions in Central and Western Africa, can cause symptoms that include fever, chills, rash and lesions.