S. Korea MERS Death Toll Reaches 16

S. Korea MERS Death Toll Reaches 16S. Korea MERS Death Toll Reaches 16

Five new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have been confirmed in South Korea and another person has died from the virus, the country’s ministry of health said Monday.

That brings to 16 the number of deaths attributed to the virus, which is known as MERS, CNN reported.

Out of 150 people who contracted MERS since an outbreak began in South Korea last month, 120 are undergoing treatment, the ministry said.

South Korean health officials this weekend said the outbreak there was slowing, but additional cases were expected.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has recorded five cases of MERS in the past week, the official state-run Saudi press agency said Sunday.

According to the World Health Organization, the strain of corona virus that causes MERS was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

In Seoul, Samsung Medical Center, one of the city’s hospitals that has counted many of the nation’s MERS cases among its patients and visitors, announced Sunday that it will suspend all surgical procedures, except for emergency surgery “to fully focus on responding to MERS.”

More than 50 confirmed MERS cases have been traced back to the medical center, according to the center’s website.

A month ago, a South Korean man walked into a hospital complaining of a cough and fever. The 68-year-old patient, who had just returned from four Middle Eastern countries, went from facility to facility before getting properly diagnosed. He became “patient zero” of the country’s outbreak.