At least 300 Chinese travelers have canceled trips they’d planned to South Korea amid reports that two people have died in the country after contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
Authorities in South Korea today confirmed the first fatalities from the outbreak that has so far infected 25 people in the nation. Both of the deceased had shared a hospital ward with the 68-year-old man who is believed to have brought the virus to South Korea after traveling to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last month.
South Korean travel agency Hana Tour said that around 300 Chinese nationals have backed out of travel plans over rising fears about MERS, according to Xinhua, which quoted Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
One of the 25 cases includes a South Korean man who became ill after crossing the border into mainland China. The 44-year-old patient, whose father and sister are confirmed carriers of MERS, has been placed under isolation in Huizhou, Guangdong province.
According to South Korean officials, the man, surnamed Kim, had broken voluntary quarantine when he flew into Hong Kong before taking a bus to Guangdong.
Kim has denied ‘lying’ about his condition to officers at the Hong Kong International Airport, telling South Korean media that officials only asked him “Do you have any cold-like symptoms? Have you visited a hospital before coming here? Nothing about [Mers]”. Uhh.
Kim’s condition has worsened since he tested positive for the deadly virus on Friday, Xinhua said.