There is no more MERS in South Korea. You may remember that awhile back, an epidemic of the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome broke out in the Seoul’s Samsung Medical Center after a business man returned with the virus from a work trip back in May.
The outbreak has left the Korean economy severely shaken and has left people fearing an economic breakdown. Yet, there’s good news on the horizon, as no new case has been reported since the 4th of July. This spread of the virus is the second largest in numbers worldwide, after Saudi Arabia. There have been 186 infected people reported, as well as up to 36 deaths due to the disease.
The reputation of the hospital, which prior to this was considered one of the best, if not the best hospital in Korea, has been severely damaged by the spread of the virus. Owned by Samsung, the hospital has long queues at the emergency room, and also there have been numerous visits to sick patients by relatives. Both these reasons are said to have been at the heart of the problem.
Due to the outbreak, thousands of schools had to be closed, hundreds of tourists canceled their trip to the South Korean capital, as well as movie theaters having been avoided, causing their profits to drop severely. The economy, which was already pretty weakened by the healthcare issue, was completely thrown out of track due to these factors.
Korean official from the Ministry of Health, Mr. Kwon Deok-cheol has said that the policymakers of the health department are working to officially put an end to the epidemic that has so severely affected the economy of the country. To do this, they are looking over strict guidelines dictated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
These guidelines specify that epidemics end only once the last of the infected has tested negative for the virus. This indicates that it is still a bit early to end the official status of the epidemic, as there are still 16 people in the hospitals suffering from MERS, with a total of 150 people still being quarantined for suspicion of infection.
Still, the latter number has gone down from a staggering 6,700 people suspected of carrying the virus. And, as no single person has died in the last six days, hopes are up that South Korea will soon be over this unfortunate period which has left the problems in its healthcare system out for everyone to see.
The Samsung Medical Center has only 1,900 beds, which is relatively low compared to the hospitals of their neighbor, China. If in these circumstances a single man could be the cause of such a widespread infection, one wonders what disaster could happen in the Chinese hospitals, some having over 3,000 beds.
Image source: iran-daily.com