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South Korea reports 32nd MERS death

SEOUL: South Korea reported its 32nd death from MERS as the virus’s mortality rate continued to rise even as the pace of the outbreak appeared to slow. A 55-year-old man died Saturday of Middle East Respiratory Disease, the health ministry said, putting the latest mortality rate at 17.5 percent.

That is up from 15 percent a week ago and 10 percent two weeks ago, though still lower than World Health Organisation figures which put the mortality rate for the disease at around 36 percent.

The man was diagnosed on June 9 after contracting the virus at Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul – the epicentre of the outbreak where about 90 patients, visitors and medical staff had been infected.

The total number of infections remained unchanged at 182 and fifteen patients were in critical condition, the health ministry said. A total of 91 patients have recovered and been released from hospital, including one on Saturday, according to the ministry.

As of today, a total of 2,562 people were under quarantine either at state facilities or at home, it added. The outbreak started on May 20 when a 68-year-old man was diagnosed after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Since then the potentially deadly virus – for which there is no vaccine – has spread at an unusually rapid pace in the Asia’s fourth-largest economy, becoming the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia and sparking public alarm at home and elsewhere in Asia. South Korea’s government is facing criticism for failing to stop the outbreak.–AFP


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