Thu, Jun 11, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Foreign ministry elevates travel alert for S Korea

YELLOW ALERT:The travel alert has been upgraded in view of close exchanges as well as the closure of more than 2,400 schools in South Korea, the ministry said

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs late on Tuesday night issued a yellow travel advisory — the third-highest in its four-color alert system — for the whole of South Korea, amid a rapid spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The ministry also urged Taiwanese in South Korea to refrain from visiting hospitals and other medical institutions, except for necessary medical care.

The ministry first issued a yellow alert for Seoul on Wednesday last week, with other areas in the country under a gray alert.

According to the ministry’s latest travel advisory, a yellow level alert is now in place for the entire country.

The ministry expanded the travel alert in view of the close exchanges between Taiwan and South Korea, and Seoul’s closure of 2,474 schools so far amid the MERS outbreak, it said.

A yellow alert warns travelers to exercise caution and to review the need to travel to the affected area.

Under the four-color system, the lowest level is gray, followed by yellow, then orange and red. A red alert is the highest warning level and advises people to refrain from traveling to the region in question.

The ministry’s decision to expand the travel alert followed an announcement earlier on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control that it had raised its travel advisory for all of South Korea to level 2.

Meanwhile, a Hsinchu County resident experiencing symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection after a trip to Seoul tested negative for MERS yesterday at a local hospital.

The 39-year-old man, who reported a sore throat, runny nose, pulmonary involvement and a temperature of 39?C upon seeking medical treatment at the Hsinchu branch of Taipei Veterans General Hospital, was immediately put into isolation in a negative pressure ward on Tuesday after his return to Taiwan a day earlier.

The man has recovered, but must undergo further tests to determine whether he can be released, a Hsinchu County health official said.

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