Korea tries to calm growing anxiety about MERS 메르스 인뎁스






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For more on Korea′s response to the MERS outbreak and for the low down on the precautions you can take to protect yourself, we turn to our Connie Kim in studio.
Connie, mask sales have shot up due to growing concerns about disease transmission.
You had a chance to hit the streets to find out more, what did some of the people you spoke with have to say?
Well, almost anywhere in Korea, you′ll spot lots of people wearing masks to guard against infection,… even though health officials have said it′s highly unlikely that people will contract the virus outside hospitals where MERS patients are receiving treatment.
But that hasn′t been enough to calm public anxiety.

″I′m a bus driver in Seoul. Since I encounter countless people every day, I′ve started washing my hands more often.″

″I′m afraid I′ll get the disease. After I go into a store with lots of people, I always make sure to wash my hands.″

″I′m trying to stay away from crowded places,… especially movie theaters or stadiums,… just to be safe.″
Korea′s infectious disease alert level is currently at ″cautious″ the third highest of five levels.
At this level, the government designates hospitals authorized to provide treatment for the disease.
There was some speculation that the level would be raised a notch to a warning, under which an emergency response system is in 24-hour standby mode, but that hasn′t happened yet.
Speaking of the alert level, people are very upset with the government′s lax and tardy response. But what about health experts do they feel the same way about the government′s initial response?
Well, a former director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the government failed to implement the appropriate initial response measures.
It took days before health authorities knew that patient zero was infected with MERS.
Making things worse, Korea wasn′t able to quickly track down the people the first patient had contact with,… resulting in secondary and tertiary infections.
Still, the professor says the country has enough treatment facilities to handle any new cases.

″Looking at the number of infected patients, we have enough treatment facilities for MERS patients. And even if we see an explosive rise in the number of patients in the coming days, the country will simply designate more hospitals authorized to treat MERS patients.″
Currently, there are 17 designated hospitals with special containment wards capable of blocking the virus′ spread that′s a total of 105 beds.
Professor Jeon added that containment and quarantine measures are the priority at the moment.
What do the experts have to say about how long the outbreak may continue?
Well, it′s too early to tell when the virus′s spread will slow down.
May 20th was when the first MERS patient was isolated.
The 14-day incubation period for that first patient has passed, but there are lingering concerns because secondary and terti

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