China / HK Macao Taiwan

Hong Kong raises MERS response level

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-08 17:33

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government Monday raised its Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) response level to "serious" and advised the public to avoid traveling to South Korea.

Speaking at a press briefing, Hong Kong's Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said the number of MERS confirmed cases is climbing in South Korea and the disease is reported in more regions there, indicating a higher risk of community outbreak.

Hong Kong has also issued Travel Health Advice, which Ko said was similar to the middle level of Outbound Travel Alert, warning people to avoid unnecessary travel to South Korea.

Hong Kong government set up a response plan in 2014 in case of an outbreak of MERS, which includes three response levels - Alert, Serious and Emergency. These response levels are based on risk assessment of MERS that may affect Hong Kong and its health impact on the community.

In an update on two suspected cases of MERS affecting a woman aged 21 and a man aged 66 in Hong Kong, the region's Center for Health Protection said the patients' respiratory specimens tested negative for MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

To date, 86 MERS cases have been reported by South Korea, according to the center.

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