South Korea reports 15th MERS death, seven new cases

SEOUL: South Korea reported Sunday its 15th death from the MERS virus as the growing outbreak that has infected 145 forced one of the nation´s biggest hospitals to suspend most services.


The latest fatality from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was a 62-year-old man who died Sunday afternoon in the southern port city of Busan, the city council said.

He was diagnosed on June 7 after being infected in Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul — a major hospital and the epicentre of more than 70 cases.

The health ministry also confirmed Sunday seven new cases of the virus, including four from the Samsung hospital, bringing the total number of infections to 145.

Separately, a paramedic who helped transport a MERS patient to the hospital on June 7 was infected. On Saturday, authorities announced that the ambulance driver also involved in transporting the patient — who died three days later — had also been infected.

One of the other new patients was infected in the central city of Daejeon and another in Hwaseong, about 43 kilometres (27 miles) south of Seoul.

In order to prevent further infections among patients and medical staff, Samsung hospital on Sunday temporarily suspended most of its operations.

It will stop treating outpatients, admitting new patients, or performing surgeries that are not deemed urgent, hospital president Song Jae-Hoon told reporters.

No visitors will be allowed, he said, adding he would decide on June 24 whether or not to continue the partial suspension.