S Korea MERS outbreak claims two more deaths

SEOUL - South Korea on Friday reported two more deaths from its outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and one new confirmed case.

The latest figures brought to 31 the total death toll from the largest MERS outbreak outside Saudi Arabia, the health ministry said.

A total of 181 people have been diagnosed with the deadly virus since the first case emerged on May 20.

Of them, 31 have died, 81 have recovered and 69 are still being treated, including 13 listed in critical condition.

The two fatalities reported on Friday were both women, aged 79 and 80, and both had existing health conditions.

The new case involved a doctor at Seoul's Samsung Medical Center, the hospital to which nearly half of all infections have been traced back.

The hospital earlier this week decided to extend indefinitely a 12-day suspension of normal services as patients, doctors and visitors continued to be diagnosed with the disease.

The number of people in isolation, meanwhile, rose to 2,931.