South Korea’s MERS alert reduced to lowest level

Seoul, Dec 1 (IANS) South Korean authorities on Tuesday lowered the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) alert level to its lowest readiness posture with no new infections reported in the country in nearly five months.

The health and welfare ministry said the decision to lower the readiness level from “yellow” to “blue” comes after local disease experts reached an agreement that there was no chance of new cases occurring in the country, the Korea Herald reported.

The respiratory disease which was first confirmed on May 20 claimed 38 people in the country with a total of 187 people being infected.

Although a person died from complications caused by the illness on November 25 after undergoing treatment for several months, there have been no new cases of the disease since July 4.

The ministry said that while it is lowering the alert posture, it pointed out that cases are still being reported in Saudi Arabia and some Middle East countries requiring constant vigilance.

“Existing monitoring and quarantine rules will remain in effect,” it said.

The ministry has urged people to pay attention to personal hygiene and avoid making unnecessary hospital visits, which were cited as some of the reasons why MERS spread so quickly in South Korea.


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