Korean Government Declares Functional End of MERS Outbreak; Last Quarantined Patient Released

Seoul Economic Network screen capture

The last patient who was quarantined due to the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) scare was finally released on July 28. As such, the government announced the functional end of the MERS outbreak and asked citizens to return to their regular routines.

In total, 16,693 people were quarantined and released with this MERS outbreak, and the number of people quarantined at any one given time rose to its peak at 6,729 on June 18. However, with no additional patients being infected, the number fell to zero 68 days since the first patient was diagnosed.

While the government announced the functional end of the MERS outbreak on July 28, the official announcement will come later, most likely at around the end of August. As suggested by the World Health Organization, the official announcement will come after every patient tests negative for MERS with a PCR test. Currently, there are 12 patients who are being treated for MERS, and 11 of them have tested negative for the PCR test.

The last patient is being tested, but they are getting indefinite results, sometimes testing positive and sometimes testing negative. Since the patient has a blood cancer and is currently receiving therapy that is suppressing his immune function, it seems that it will take some time for them to finally get a negative test.

Meanwhile, the number of patients diagnosed with MERS and those who died from the illness stay constant at 186 and 36 respectively.

There have been no new MERS patients since July 6, and no MERS deaths since July 12.

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