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Update on latest MERS situation in Korea and Thailand

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (June 19) closely monitoring two additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reported by Korea and Thailand.

     According to the preliminary information of the health authority of Korea, one case is a visitor who took care of an in-patient in Samsung Medical Center from May 25 to June 5.

     To date, 165 MERS cases have been confirmed by Korea. In addition, another case was exported from Korea to Mainland China.

     Meanwhile, the health authority of Thailand has announced its first confirmed MERS case. The male patient developed chest pain on June 10. He had sought medical treatment in Oman and subsequently travelled to Bangkok, Thailand, by airplane (flight number: WY0815) to seek medical care for his heart condition. The patient did not report to have fever and was not detected to have fever when he arrived at the Bangkok airport on June 15. He was admitted to a hospital in Thailand on June 15 and was isolated since admission. He was confirmed to have MERS coronavirus infection yesterday (June 18).

     The health authority in Thailand is conducting contact tracing for 59 contacts of the patient. The 31 passengers on the same flight who were seated within two rows of the patient are still in Thailand at the moment and under quarantine. None of them went to Hong Kong. The CHP has been liaising with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the health authority of Thailand to monitor the situation closely.

     "We again urge the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of health risks of the places of visit," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "In view of the latest situation in Korea, the public should avoid unnecessary travel to Korea, in particular those with chronic illnesses. Travellers in Korea and the Middle East should avoid unnecessary visits to health-care facilities. In addition, travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, and avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry," the spokesman advised.

     The CHP will maintain close communication with the WHO and the relevant health authorities. Members of the public and the health-care sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation.

Ends/Friday, June 19, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:44


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