There are currently 108 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection in South Korea, with 9 deaths. The youngest person that has died to date is a 57-year-old woman hospitalised at St. Mary’s Hospital at Pyeongtaek, whereas the eldest is an 82-year-old man at Kon Yang University Hospital. Transmission has been reported at a 7th healthcare institution now – Sacred Heart Hospital Hallym University Dongtan. There has been no significant community transmission (although there have been rare household transmissions) to date. A Financial Times article published 2 days ago reported two possible reasons for the large cluster of cases in South Korea so far:

  1. Crowded emergency rooms with multiple patients sharing a room.
  2. The tendency for South Korean patients to visit more than one hospital to seek medical opinions.
MERS-CoV cases in South Korea according to date of confirmation and hospitals involved.
MERS-CoV cases in South Korea according to date of confirmation and hospitals involved.

In Singapore, temperature screenings for arrivals from South Korea have commenced at Changi Airport. As previously discussed, such a move has almost zero chance of picking up a MERS-CoV-infected person and higher chances of having a false-positive result (i.e. fever due to some other condition). It is most likely an attempt to bolster public and international confidence (according to my taxi driver today), but it would be nice if someone could do a study on the cost-effectiveness of such measures.

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