South Korea: third MERS case confirmed

Jun 04, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT
Women wearing face masks wait for a train at a subway station in the popular Myeongdong shopping area in Seoul on June 4, 2015. The Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) reported that around 7,000 tourists -- mostly from China and Taiwan -- had cancelled planned group trips to South Korea, citing the MERS outbreak as the main reason, a KTO spokesman said.
ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

The fatality is adding to growing concern over a spreading outbreak. According to Reuters, the 82-year old South Korean, in hospital with asthma and bacterial pneumonia, had shared a room with others infected with MERS and died on Wednesday night, the health ministry said.

He became the 36th confirmed MERS infection in South Korea, which has the most cases outside the Middle East. More than 1,100 schools were closed in South Korea on Thursday and soldiers were confined to base in areas near hospitals where outbreaks have occurred. North Koreacalled for border checks.

Seoul city officials said late on Thursday that they were asking 1,565 people who attended a May 30 meeting for a redevelopment project to undergo voluntary quarantine after learning that a doctor initially diagnosed with MERS on June 1 had attended the event in the wealthy Gangnam district. "We are taking actions ... to prevent spread of the disease. But I don’t think citizens should be excessively fearful," Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon told a news conference just before midnight.