RoK reports 14 new MERS cases, takes total to 122

The Republic of Korea (RoK)'s health ministry on June 11 reported 14 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), taking the total to 122 in an outbreak that is the largest outside Saudi Arabia.

Among the newly reported cases was a pregnant woman who contracted the virus at the emergency ward of a Seoul hospital that has been linked to a number of other confirmed cases, the ministry said.

The spread of the disease has stirred up public fear and confusion, prompting President Park Geun-hye to postpone a visit to the United States, while health officials have been criticized over a lack of transparency and for failing to swiftly contain the spread.

A joint the RoK-World Health Organization mission on June 10 recommended that schools be reopened as they were unlikely to spread the disease, just as school boards recommended more be shut.

The RoK's new cases bring the total number of MERS cases globally to 1,271 based on WHO data, with at least 448 related deaths. The country has the second highest number of cases after Saudi Arabia, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.