South Korea Is Closing Hundreds of Schools as MERS Outbreak Spreads

TIME

South Korean authorities confirmed the existence of five new cases of the potentially fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Thursday, as hundreds of schools around the country closed to help stem the virus’ spread.

According to the Wall Street Journal, South Korea’s Ministry of Health said that two of the new patients did not have direct contact with the country’s original MERS carrier, spurring fears that there may be more undetected cases afoot.

To date, the virus has killed two people, infected 35 and pushed public-health officials to quarantine more than 1,300 others.

Authorities shuttered more than 700 schools across the country this week to help halt the spread of the virus.

South Korean tourism officials also admitted that thousands of visitors from across the region have begun canceling travel plans en mass.

Agence France-Presse reports that approximately 7,000 tourists — mostly from China and Taiwan — have…

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