Over 700 Schools Closed in South Korea Fearing MERS Outbreak


South Korea is panicking at the reports of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak that has already infected 35 people and claimed the lives of 2 people. About 1,300 people who were exposed to the virus, directly or indirectly, have been placed under different levels of quarantine.

With public fearing the outbreak of the disease outside Saudi Arabia, more than 700 schools in South Korea has been shut down.

The first case of MERS was reported on May 20th, when a 68 year old man was diagnosed after a trip to Saudi Arabia.

People in Seoul, especially those travelling by buses and subways in South Korea are wearing face masks these days.

 Also, there has been a decrease in number of tourists visiting the country. The Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) has reported that around 7,000 tourists, mainly from China and Taiwan have cancelled their plans to visit South Korea fearing infection.

Globally, MERS has infected 1,161 people so far, resulting in 436 deaths. Out of the 20 affected countries, Saudi Arabia is the worst affected. Till now, no cure has been discovered for the virus and is deadly. However, it is less infectious compared to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) due to which hundreds of people were killed in Asia in 2003.