South Korean health authorities have reported two new cases of MERS in the country, while Thailand have reported no new cases of the disease.
South Korea’s health ministry reported on Monday two more deaths in the country’s Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, which the World Health Organisation said was “large and complex,” bringing the number of fatalities to 27.
Thailand, which reported its first case last week, said it had no new cases, raising hopes the virus there had been contained. Neighbouring Malaysia announced nonetheless that it was stepping up health screening at all entry points.
The outbreak in South Korea has been traced to a 68-year-old man who returned from a trip to the Middle East in early May and sought medical help at different hospitals before being diagnosed with the MERS virus.
The health ministry in Seoul also confirmed three new cases, taking the total to 172 in an outbreak that is the largest outside Saudi Arabia, but has shown signs of slowing credited to wide-reaching control measures.
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 reported its first case last week in a 75-year-old man from Oman who had traveled to Bangkok for treatment for a heart condition.
“Today we can assure [you] that we have found no new MERS cases,” Thai Deputy Health Minister Vachira Pengchan told a news conference.
“Overall we are able to control the virus and the risk is lower,” Vachira said, adding that the condition of the lone MERS patient was improving.