Foreign visitors wear mask as a precaution against the MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, virus as they arrive at Incheon International Airport in Incheon. South Korea, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. South Korea is determined to end this week the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, saying upcoming several days will be a critical moment on whether to overcome the medical crisis.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
UNITED NATIONS — A joint mission by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday began its work in Seoul to review the situation regarding the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, also known as MERS CoV, currently ongoing in the Republic of Korea.
“The WHO mission led by the Assistant Director-General Dr. Keiji Fukuda said that current efforts to control the outbreak and prevent further spread are being intensified,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing.
There have been 108 confirmed cases and nine deaths by Wednesday in the Republic of Korea.
“Evidence suggests that the pattern of the outbreak may be similar to the ones that have taken place in health care facilities in the Middle East, but that investigation is still ongoing,” Dujarric said.
MERS symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia.
The authorities said on Tuesday that it will test all pneumonia patients in Seoul, the Gyeonggi Province, Daejeon and Asan city in South Chungcheong Province to detect potential carriers of the MERS virus.
Nearly 2,900 people who had been near any of the confirmed cases were isolated as of Tuesday, to be monitored for symptoms by the South Korean government, reports said, adding that more than 2, 200 schools remained closed in the country.
The deadly MERS viral illness, which has mostly been found in the Middle East, is a close cousin of the deadly SARS virus, which killed over 770 people worldwide following a 2003 outbreak. (PNA/Xinhua)