The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday raised its epidemic travel advisory for South Korea’s capital after Seoul confirmed 25 cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including two deaths, and quarantined nearly 700 people.
While South Korean authorities said the outbreak was confined to hospitals, some of the confirmed cases were not patients from hospitals designated to treat the infection, CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday afternoon.
“Given that many local hospitals in Seoul activated measures to conduct fever screening in outpatient clinics and emergency units yesterday, the centers do not rule out MERS spreading to community settings in the country,” Chou said.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
In light of the new development, the CDC raised the epidemic travel advisory for the Seoul capital area from a level-1 watch to a level-2 alert, which advises travelers to maintain a high degree of caution and take strong protective measures, especially when visiting certain high-risk places, Chou said.
The rest of the nation remained at level 1, he added.
Chou said Taiwan is equipped with sufficient disease prevention supplies, including 33 million N95 respirator filters, adding that six hospitals in Taiwan proper and three hospitals in outlying islands are designated for MERS screening and treatment, which combined could provide a total of 134 negative-pressure isolation rooms.
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