South Korean health officials said on Wednesday that more than 100 people are now confirmed to have been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus.
The number of officially confirmed cases is now 108, with nine dying as a result.
The South Korean government has mandated that 32 more hospitals test for MERS and is apealing to people who’ve had contact with infected persons or have MERS-like symptoms, such as fever, to visit one of the designated hospitals.
The World Health Organization has sent a team to visit the hospital in Seoul which has confirmed the largest number of the South Korean MERS cases.
While the WHO says the pattern of infection is similar to the outbreaks in the Middle East, the situation is in flux in South Korea and thus warrants continued study.
The South Korean government, meanwhile, is calling for calm.
Officials have stressed that all infections confirmed so far have happened inside hospitals, and thus the route to infection has been identified.
Four patients have been discharged from the hospital after successfully fighting the virus.
Yet anxiety is running high among the public, despite the relatively small number of infections and diligent response by officials.
Over 3,400 people remain in quarantine and many kindergartens and elementary schools remain closed nationwide.
The measures to stop the virus, it seems, are having a greater effect on people’s daily lives than the actual disease.