Baku-APA. The death toll from MERS in South Korea reached 25 Saturday, after the health ministry announced a major success in efforts to contain the outbreak earlier when no new cases or fatalities had been reported, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
The ministry announced later that a 63-year-old man with a history of heart disease and diabetes had died in North Jeolla province where he had been quarantined.
The number of people diagnosed currently stands at 165.
Since May 20, when the country’s first infection was confirmed in a man who had returned from the Middle East, there has been a near constant trickle of bad news -- feeding public panic considering Saudi Arabia’s MERS fatality rate exceeds 40 percent.
Recent weeks have also seen stories emerge of infected medical staff and members of the public inadvertently exposing thousands of others, prompting fears of a widening epidemic.
The update earlier Saturday of no new deaths or cases had allowed officials to believe that they might have been able to stem the tide of infections through widespread quarantine measures.
The main focus has been on healthcare settings -- hospitals have been the primary site of transmission.
A member of the government’s MERS control tower cautiously concluded at a Friday briefing that “the disease is now on the decline.”
The mood appeared to be positive as newly-confirmed Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn began the weekend by receiving a briefing on the latest from his response team.
South Korea is not out of the woods yet -- around 5,200 people are still under isolation orders having been suspected of exposure to MERS. More than 10 patients are reportedly in an unstable condition.
On the plus side, most of the 12,000 citizens who have been subject to quarantine measures have been given the all-clear, while 36 previously infected patients have fully recovered.