New MERS cases in South Korea, but outbreak slowing

Seven new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS virus, have been confirmed in South Korea, the country’s Ministry of Health said Sunday. Fourteen people died from the virus, 10 have recovered after being infected and 121 are under treatment, the ministry said.

Health officials this weekend said the outbreak was slowing, but additional cases were expected.

Exactly 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 would become “patient zero” of the country’s outbreak.

The outbreak has sparked international concern, shuttered more than 3,000 schools and stalled the country’s economy.

Health officials have said this week is crucial in the battle to contain MERS, as many of those in quarantine are near the end of their mandatory isolation period.

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