No new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) have been diagnosed in South Korea since July 4, with the number of diagnosed cases remaining at 186 and the death toll also unchanged at 36.
Since Korea reported its first MERS case on May 20, nearly 16,700 people had been subject to isolation for possible infection, but 16,231 were released after showing no symptoms during the 14-day incubation period. Of those diagnosed with MERS, 20 remain hospitalized but 130 were discharged following complete recoveries. Samsung Medical Center, the hospital at the center of the original outbreak, plans to resume normal operations on Monday, July 20. The hospital had suspended most services and accepted no new patients in more than a month.
Consumer activity in Korea rebounded nicely in July, with restaurants and retail stores reporting a strong recovery since the severe slowdown in early and mid-June. According to surveys conducted by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFRA), year-over-year sales in Korea’s foodservice sector were down more than 60 percent in the first half of June, but near the end of the month had recovered to about 75 percent of last year’s level. Significant further improvement is expected when data becomes available for July.