World / Asia-Pacific

822 schools in S.Korea suspend classes for MERS fears

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-04 15:14

SEOUL - More than 800 schools in South Korea have decided to suspend classes as of Thursday for fears of student contagion from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Schools, which decided to temporarily stop classes, totaled 822 nationwide at 11 a.m. (0200 GMT), according to the Education Ministry.

Those included 309 kindergartens, 417 elementary schools, 66 middle schools, 12 high schools, five colleges and 13 special- education schools.

About 70 percent of the total came from Gyeonggi Province where many infected cases were allegedly found. In capital Seoul, 24 kindergartens, 13 primary schools and two junior high schools decided to halt classes.

As of Thursday, the number of MERS infection cases in the country surged to 35 since the first case was found on May 20.

The 35 infectees were composed of 10 in their 40s, seven in their 50s and 70s each, five in their 60s, four in their 30s and two in their 20s. No infection case of minors has been reported yet.

The MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a new type of corona-virus that is similar to the one causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, with its fatality rate reaching 40.7 percent.

The first case was spotted in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The World Health Organization has reported more than 1,000 cases of MERS globally and more than 400 deaths.

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