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Health Ministry tries to block MERS outbreak

The Ministry of Health has begun measures to prevent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) from breaking out in Burma.

Speaking at a coordination meeting on MERS prevention in Naypyidaw on 8 June, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Thein Thein Htay said the recent outbreak of the notoriously fast-spreading virus in South Korea has been the largest epidemic outside of Middle East.

Public Health Department Director-General Dr Soe Lwin Nyein said that health officials are now screening travellers at international airports and border checkpoints in efforts to ensure the virus does not spread to Burma.

“We are conducting temperature screening on international arrivals at airports and border checkpoints,” said Soe Lwin Nyein, adding that township-level hospitals are being prepared to provide treatment for any suspected MERS cases.


The MERS virus, first reported in 2012, so far has spread to 25 countries, with more than 1,300 individuals in total reported to have contracted the virus. Some 450 people have died worldwide.

There are almost 100 individuals diagnosed with the virus infection in South Korea – up to seven have died so far.

The Burmese government is also planning a meeting with concerned ministries to discuss better forms of prevention.


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