MERS diagnoses lead to concern over China travel

MERS diagnoses lead to concern over China travel
A health worker with protective suits sitting with people (R) who came into close contact with the Korean Mers patient arrive at Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Sai Kung, where they will spend two weeks in quarantine, in Hong Kong, May 30, 2015.

TAIPEI - A suspected case of MERS infection was confirmed yesterday involving a 44-year-old South Korean man who travelled to Hong Kong by plane and then to China by bus, according to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

Agents of Hong Kong health bureaus are currently tracking down anyone who had contact with the patient during his transfer to mainland China. According to officials, three residents who have had indirect contact with the patient have sought medial assistance at local hospitals.

A total of 165 passengers flew on Asiana Airlines flight 723, which took the man to Hong Kong, officials said, 80 of whom are South Korean, 73 are Chinese, five from England, the US and Canada, as well as eight crew members.

No Taiwanese were reported to be among the passengers. Among the 29 passengers who sat close to the patient, 12 have been contacted by Hong Kong health bureaus, and will be held in isolation for 14 days starting from May 26. Other patients have, however, left Hong Kong, and officials have failed to contact them.

People Need Not Panic: Cabinet

The first mainland China MERS diagnosis broke out yesterday, however, Cabinet officials said that people should not panic.

According to Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun, CDC officials have been keeping in contact with health officials of South Korea, China and Hong Kong, as well as the WHO, and that the centre will assist in preventing the disease from spreading to the nation.

The CDC officials said that public areas should regularly be disinfected, airlines should provide masks for passengers, and that passengers should report to the CDC if they exhibit any symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

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