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South Korea MERS outbreak worsens

Friday, June 05, 2015 - 01:50

MERS death toll and new cases rise in South Korea as authorities clash over their handling of the outbreak. Paul Chapman reports.

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This hospital in South Korea had the country's largest number of patients with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome until a week ago. Now it's been temporarily shut to stop the disease spreading after three quarters of the nation's cases of infection were traced to the site. South Korea's just announced a fourth death from MERS and five more reported cases. The Mayor of Seoul says the latest to contract the disease is a doctor in the city and he's criticising the Health Ministry for failing to share information. (SOUNDBITE)(Korean) PARK WON-SOON, MAYOR OF SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT, SAYING: "The 35th MERS case is a doctor who had contact with the 14th MERS case. He began to show symptoms on May 29th, which got worse on May 30th, although he attended a meeting in Gaepo-dong for a redevelopment project with 1,565 people the same day. A large number of people have been exposed to the transmission of MERS." South Korea's health minister's hitting back. (SOUNDBITE)(Korean) SOUTH KOREAN MINISTER OF HEALTH AND WELFARE, MOON HYUNG-PYO, SAYING: "Seoul city announced its opinion unilaterally, and seems to say the government's measures to prevent the spread of MERS was wrong. It's highly regrettable and could increase public concern." One less hospital to take MERS cases, albeit temporarily, will increase the pressure on South Korea's health services. The country has at least 41 infections, the highest of anywhere outside the Middle East. The new cases bring the total globally to about 1,185, based on World Health Organisation figures, with at least 443 related deaths.

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South Korea MERS outbreak worsens

Friday, June 05, 2015 - 01:50