World

Thai woman in quarantine for Mers testing

A Thai woman returning from South Korea is undergoing a 14-day medical surveillance to check whether she has contracted the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) virus, the Bangkok Post reported.

The woman, who is aged under 30, went to a hospital in Samut Prakan on Monday (June 8), said Dr Sawat Apiwajjaneewong of Samut Prakan provincial public health office.

Her name has been withheld. The woman appeared normal and did not have a fever when she met with hospital staff. 

He added that she wanted to be quarantined so that she and her family would feel comfortable.

The hospital reported the case to the Ministry of Public Health. Her condition was being observed by medical experts and it would take about a week to determine if she has the virus. 

Schoolchildren wearing masks at the Tsing Yi MTR station in Hong Kong on June 10: A woman had sought treatment at a clinic in the area after returning from a trip to South Korea. PHOTO: AFP

Meanwhile, Hong Kong health authorities said today (June 11) that 31 out of 33 suspected cases of Mers reported have tested negative.

Controller of the Centre for Health Protection, Leung Ting Hung, said no confirmed case of Mers has been found in Hong Kong so far, Reuters reported, citing Xinhua news agency.

Starting from Thursday, the centre will update the number of suspected cases of Mers twice a day, Leung said.

He urged the public not to forward unconfirmed information about the disease on the internet, which would lead to unnecessary panic and potentially violate the law.

Triggered panic

A suspected case involving a 22-year-old woman who went to a private clinic in Tsing Yi on Wednesday was among the 31 negative cases.

The case had triggered panic when the area around the clinic was cordoned off and health officials there wore protective gear, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

The South China Morning Post said the woman was among four suspected cases picked up at clinics, the first time suspected cases were found outside of the airport.

Residents in Hong Kong are particularly sensitive after an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) killed 299 people in the city in 2003.

 Workers in full protective gear disinfect the interior of a subway train at a Seoul Metro's railway vehicle base in Goyang. PHOTO: REUTERS

First identified in humans in 2012, Mers is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

It is transmitted through droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing.

There is no cure or vaccine.

Sources: Bangkok Post, Reuters, AFP

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