Tag Archive | South Korea

MAGNITUDE 3.1 SOUTH KOREA #earthquake #SouthKorea

Subject to change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 72 km SW of Gwangju, Korea, Republic of / pop: 1,417,000 / local time: 22:07:14.0 2020-05-03

15 km S of Moppo, Korea, Republic of / pop: 269,000 / local time: 22:07:14.0 2020-05-03

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South Korea reports 32nd MERS death

MERS Virus Alert

South Korea on Sunday 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 Organization 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 Sunday, 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.
Courtesy of indiatimes.com

MERS Virus kills two elderly people; 14 patients critical in South Korea

MERS Virus Alert

South Korea reported two MERS fatalities and three new cases, taking the country’s death toll to 27 in the largest outbreak of the virus outside Saudi Arabia.
The two men – aged 84 and 87 – died from Sunday night to Monday morning of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the health ministry said, adding both had been battling cancer.
They were infected at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul and Daecheong hospital in the western city of Daejeon and were diagnosed on June 9 and 12, respectively.
The ministry also reported three more cases of the disease to bring the total number of those infected to 172, including 27 who have died. 
The three included two patients at Samsung hospital and Konkuk University Medical Centre in Seoul and one caregiver at Daecheong hospital.
Samsung – a major hospital where more than 80 patients, families and medical workers have been infected – suspended most services on June 14 to stem the spread of the virus.
Fourteen patients were in critical condition, the ministry said, adding 50 people had recovered and were released from hospital so far, including seven from Saturday to Sunday.
The spread of the virus has slowed since the first two weeks of June, when the number of patients often grew by double digits including a daily record of 23 on June 7.
On Saturday the authorities reported no new cases for the first time in 16 days.
The outbreak began 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 had spread at an unusually rapid pace, sparking public alarm that prompted the temporary closure of thousands of schools and trip cancellations by more than 120,000 foreign tourist. 
Most schools have reopened except for five in Gyeonggi province surrounding Seoul, the southern port of Busan and the southeastern city of Daegu.
Courtesy of thestandard.com.hk

Sri Lanka on ‘Red Alert’ for MERS Virus

The Health Ministry last week said the country is in a Pandemic Influenza preparedness state to meet any entry of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus into the country.
The Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit (EU) said that a ‘24/7 Help Desk’ manned by doctors and public health officers has been established at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to arrest any emergency cases on arrival. Health Ministry officials including EU Director Dr Paba Palihawadana and Director General Dr Palitha Mahipala had helped set up the Desk at the BIA.
Consultant Community Physician (Quarantine) Dr Iresha Dassanayake said that contingency measures are in place if a passenger is suspected of having symptoms of the disease. In addition, she said that thermometers have been provided to check temperatures of all outbound passengers from South Korea and the Middle East.
However, as the Word Health Organisation (WHO) has not declared MERS a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), no travel ban could be imposed on South Korea or the Middle Eastern countries affected by the virus. She said leaflets with information on the disease is being distributed to all inbound and outbound passengers to and from those countries.
In addition, she said that posters and placards are displayed at the BIA to alert passengers on the symptoms of the disease and stressing the importance of passengers presenting themselves at the quarantine desk. Last week, South Korea announced its 24th fatality to the virus, with 166 confirmed cases and nearly 6,000 persons under quarantine. In the same week, Thailand recorded its first MERS victim when a 75-year-old Omani businessman was confirmed to have the virus.
Quarantine Director, Dr H.M.L.B.A. Denuwara said that last week an emergency meeting involving all stakeholders including BIA health staff, Quarantine health officers, PHIs, Immigration Officers and Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment staff was held and plans drawn for immediate action in an emergency.
He said that the Airport ambulance will be on standby for emergency transfer of patients to the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Colombo, where specially trained doctors and nurses provided with personnel protective equipment and special wards, have been arranged for such emergency cases.
Explaining further, he said passenger locater forms will also be distributed to all passengers on a flight with an infected passenger, and Medical Officers of Health (MOH) of the areas where those passengers live, will be monitored for two weeks, for symptoms that may be indicative of the disease.
Senior Researcher- EU, Dr Athula Liyanapathirana said the spread of the virus in South Korea has shown there is no clustering of cases and the propagation of the disease within Sri Lanka is minimal.
Courtesy of sundaytimes.lk

MERS Virus Strikes Thailand

MERS Virus Alert

Fears of contagion as authorities confirm Omani businessman is first detected case
One of Thailand’s leading hospitals, known for treating medical tourists, said on Friday it had received the country’s first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as authorities said it had taken nearly four days to confirm the illness.
Thailand said on Thursday a 75-year-old businessman from Oman, who had travelled to Bangkok for medical treatment for a heart condition, had tested positive for MERS.
The announcement came just as an outbreak in South Korea that began last month and has infected 166 people, killing 24 of them, appeared to be levelling off.
The high-end Bumrungrad Hospital, run by Thailand’s second-largest hospital operator, identified the first Mers case. The hospital in central Bangkok treats over a million patients a year, about half of them foreigners.
“The patient came to us tired, coughing … there was no fever,” a doctor from the private hospital told a televised news conference. “So we X-rayed his chest … we found that he could have two things, a heart condition or the MERS virus.”
Tourism accounts for 10 per cent of the Thai economy and medical tourists make up more than 10 per cent of visitors, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. About a third of those medical tourists come from the Middle East.
The hospital said 58 staff had been quarantined, but all other operations were continuing as normal.
The infected man was moved to Bangkok’s Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute on Thursday. Staff there were seen wearing and giving out masks to visitors, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. Health warnings were posted in front of the building’s entrance.
Two South Korean hospitals were locked down and another completely shut due to Mers, while the prestigious Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, where most infections occurred, stopped taking new patients during the outbreak.
The Thai case will compound fears in Asia of a repeat of a 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which began in China and killed about 800 people globally.
MERS was first identified in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and the majority of cases have been in the Middle East.
Isolated cases have cropped up in Asia before South Korea’s outbreak began last month, and Thailand is the fourth Asian country to register a case.
China has had one case recently, that of a South Korean man who travelled to China via Hong Kong despite authorities suggesting he stay in voluntary quarantine at home. The Philippines has also identified a case this year.
Concern for victim’s sons
The infected man arrived in the Thai capital on Monday on an Oman Air flight for medical treatment for a heart ailment at a private hospital.
“It took about four days to diagnose this case and two lab tests,” Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said, adding all 106 people on board the man’s flight had been located.
Among those being monitored were the man’s two sons, who were considered at high risk because of their proximity to their father. The two had been tested and results were due later on Friday, Mr Rajata said.
Most of those under observation had been told to stay at home for 14 days.
South Korea’s outbreak, the largest outside Saudi Arabia, had been traced to a 68-year-old man who returned from a business trip to the Middle East in early May.
It spread through hospitals with all of its infections known to have occurred in healthcare facilities.
The outbreak in South Korea appeared to have peaked, with just one new case reported on Friday and the number of people in quarantine down 12 per cent to 5,930, though authorities were taking no chances.
“Given the current developments, we have judged that it has levelled off, but we need to watch further spread, further cases from so-called intensive control hospitals,” the South Korean health ministry’s chief policy official, Kwan Deok-cheol, told a briefing in Seoul.
In Thailand, authorities were screening passengers from countries seen at risk of MERS and stepping up public information about the virus, another health official said.
The Middle East is an important source of tourists for Thailand with arrivals from the region up by nearly 50 per cent in January, according to the tourism office.
Bangkok is also one of the region’s main aviation hubs.
The vast majority of MERS infections have been in Saudi Arabia, where more than 1,000 people have been infected since 2012, and about 454 have died. There is no cure.
Shares in Thai aviation companies and hotels fell on Friday with hotel operator Central Plaza Hotel plunging 6.6 per cent. Airports operator Airports of Thailand dropped 4.2 percent to a more than three-week low. Bumrungrad Hospital shares were down over 6 per cent.
Courtesy of irishtimes.com

Phuket on alert for MERS virus

MERS Virus Alert

Phuket Health officials have ramped up efforts this week in order to identify passengers who are possibly carrying the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) to the island from South Korea or the Middle East, where the virus is spreading.
“We received an order from the Ministry of Public Health in Bangkok to be on alert for the virus,” Phuket Provincial Health Organization (PPHO) Chief Kajohnsak Kaewjarus told the Phuket Gazette today. “We started checking passengers on June 9.”
Six airline carriers flying into Phuket currently have flights departing from South Korea and the Middle East.
“Every traveller arriving from these destinations is being checked by the Disease Control Center at Phuket International Airport,” confirmed Dr Kajohnsak.
Airline crew members have also been asked to keep an eye out for any passengers showing signs of influenza and to notify officials upon arrival at the airport.
“Between Tuesday and Friday, we checked 3,900 passengers and found no MERS suspects,” Dr Kajohnsak said. “We have strong countermeasures in place, which we introduced in 2013 when MERS first became a concern for the island.”
The PPHO first rolled out its MERS protocol in July 2013. It included isolation procedures and patient tracking, in case a person was positively identified for symptoms of MERS (Special Report here).
A total of 122 cases of MERS have already been identified in South Korea. The outbreak killed nine people, reported The Nation. It began last month when a 68-year-old South Korean businessman brought the disease back from a trip to the Middle East.
Courtesy of phuketgazette.net

MERS Virus Death Toll Reaches 14 With 3,800 Quarantined In South Korea

MERS Virus Alert

The death toll from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) epidemic in South Korea has increased to 14, the country’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Saturday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to the ministry, 12 new MERS cases have been reported. The total number of those infected with the virus now stands at 138.
The number of people quarantined in South Korea amid the MERS outbreak exceeds 3,800 people. More than 2,000 educational facilities have been closed to prevent the spread of the virus.
The South Korean government has acknowledged that the outbreak has been fueled by insufficient safety measures when the first MERS patients were hospitalized.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a viral respiratory disease caused by the MERS-coronavirus. First reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, it has since spread to other countries.
Fever, coughing and a shortness of breath are among the typical symptoms of MERS. People with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to the virus.
There is currently no vaccine for MERS.
Courtesy of sputniknews.com

MERS VIRUS kills 10th person with 1000’s isolated in South Korea

Epidemic Alert

South Korea reported a 10th death from the MERS virus on Thursday, although officials say they believe the disease has peaked.
The victim was a 65-year-old man who had been treated for lung cancer and was hospitalized in the same facility as another MERS patient, the Health Ministry said. The outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome has caused panic in South Korea. It has infected more than 120 people since the first case, a 68-year-old man who had traveled to the Middle East, was diagnosed on May 20.
About 3,800 people remained isolated Thursday after possible contact with infected people, according to the ministry, and more than 2,600 schools and kindergartens across South Korea were closed.
On Wednesday, experts from the World Health Organization and South Korea urged the schools’ reopening as the outbreak in the country has so far been contained to hospitals and there is no evidence of sustained transmission in the community.
South Korean officials believe the outbreak may have peaked, although they say the next few days will be crucial to determining whether their efforts to isolate patients and control the disease have worked. Three people diagnosed with MERS were released from hospitals Thursday, bringing the total discharged to seven.
President Park Geun-hye postponed her planned US visit scheduled next week to focus on coping with the outbreak.
Most of the deaths so far have been of people who had been suffering from pre-existing medical conditions, such as respiratory problems or cancer.
Courtesy of arabnews.com

MERS Virus alarm grows as two more people are tested in Hong Kong

MERS Virus Alert

Hong Kong authorities were testing two people for possible Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) on Thursday as worry grew across the region about the outbreak in South Korea.
The two Hong Kong people had recently travelled to South Korea, said the clinic that was treating them. Thirty-one people in Hong Kong who suspected they might have caught the disease have so far tested negative.
On Tuesday Hong Kong issued a “red alert” advisory against non-essential travel to South Korea, where 14 new cases of Mers were reported on Thursday, taking the total there to 122 cases. South Korea’s outbreak is now the largest outside Saudi Arabia.
One case has been reported in China, that of a South Korean man who travelled there after defying a suggestion from health authorities in South Korea that he stay in voluntary quarantine.
Hong Kong’s travel industry council has also cancelled 600 tour groups to South Korea, affecting about 12,000 travellers.
In the nearby former Portuguese colony of Macau, authorities have also warned residents against travel to South Korea unless absolutely necessary.
Nine people have died in South Korea of the disease, which is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered a deadly 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) that began in China.
There is no cure or vaccine for Mers, which was first identified in humans in 2012.
Most of the global cases, which number 1,271 according to World Health Organisation data, and at least 448 related deaths, have been in the Middle East.
Courtesy of theguardian.com

MERS Virus kills 5th person in South Korea

MERS Virus Alert

A fifth person in South Korea has died of the MERS virus, as the government announced Sunday that it was strengthening measures to stem the spread of the disease and public fear.
Sixty-four people in South Korea have been infected by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome since last month in the largest outbreak outside the Middle East. Hundreds of schools have closed and more than 2,000 people are isolated at their homes or in facilities after having contact with patients infected with the virus, health officials said.
Acting Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said Sunday that there was no reason to believe that the virus would significantly spread further in the country.
“So far, all the MERS cases have been hospital-associated, and there has been no case of an infection in other social settings. We think we have a chance at putting the outbreak under total control,” Choi told a news conference.
While the virus has no vaccine, health experts say it spreads through close contact with infected people and not through the air.
The U.N. health agency has reported that there’s no evidence yet in South Korea of “sustained transmission in the community.”
Departing from its earlier policy, the government announced the names of the 24 hospitals where the MERS patients have been diagnosed or had been treated before their condition was confirmed. This will allow people who have visited those facilities in recent weeks to report themselves if they are showing symptoms similar to MERS-related illnesses, Choi said.
While the government had earlier identified one hospital in a city south of Seoul where the first MERS case was confirmed, and another in southern Seoul that has been a significant source of infections, it had been reluctant to release the full list of hospitals over concerns that it would cause a disruption in services if people started avoiding them.
Choi said the government will also strengthen its monitoring of the hundreds of undiagnosed patients who are quarantined at their homes because officials believe they might have contracted the virus. It includes tracking their whereabouts through cellphone signals.
More than 1,200 schools were closed at the end of last week in reaction to fears about the spreading virus, according to the Ministry of Education. The number will surely rise on Monday after education authorities in Seoul and the neighboring Gyeonggi Province on Sunday ordered more schools in their regions to participate in the temporary closures.
MERS was discovered in 2012 and has mostly been centered in Saudi Arabia. It belongs to the family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold and SARS, and can cause fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure. The virus has spread primarily through contact with camels, but it can also spread from human fluids and droplets.
Courtesy of usatoday.com