June 19, 2015 09:49
The head of the World Health Organization said Thursday that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus in Korea has not shown any signs of mutation and "the risk of it spreading through the general community remains low."
"There is no current evidence of sustained community transmission of spread with known spillover into the general population," Margaret Chan told reporters at COEX in southern Seoul. "Hopefully we can see the outbreak brought under control, although it might take some time."
"After a slow start, the government put in place one of the strongest responses I've seen," she added. "Few other countries in the world can do this."
Chan held the press conference hours after arriving in Korea to attend a gathering of the International Council of Nurses from Friday until Tuesday next week.
She estimated that the number of new MERS infections is declining.
On Tuesday, Chan chaired an emergency WHO meeting and said the situation in Korea does not constitute a "health emergency of international concern" and did not recommend travel or trade restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Friday morning the number of confirmed MERS patients reached 166, with the death toll at 24.
Of those who died of the viral disease, 22 were in the high-risk group due to chronic diseases or old age.
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