Category Archives: Asia

Top Thai hospital treats first MERS case, South Korea outbreak levels off

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A worker wearing a mask walks outside the isolation ward where a businessman from Oman is being treated for MERS at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) – One of Thailand’s leading hospitals, known for treating medical tourists, said on Friday it had received the country’s first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as authorities said it had taken nearly four days to confirm the illness. Thailand said on Thursday a 75-year-old businessman from Oman, who had traveled to Bangkok for medical treatment for a heart condition, had tested positive for MERS. The announcement came just as an outbreak in South Korea that began last month and has infected 166 people, killing 24 of them, appeared to be leveling off.

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Omani MERS patient’s relatives tested for virus in Thailand

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A man holds his child while walking past an information banner on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) at the entrance of Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province, Thailand on June 19, 2015

Thai authorities on Friday said two relatives of an Omani man found to have MERS were being tested for the deadly virus in the kingdom. Thailand, a booming medical tourism hub popular with Middle Eastern patients, on Thursday confirmed the Omani, 75, had MERS, days after he arrived at a Bangkok hospital for treatment for a heart condition. On Friday the Omani patient was “getting a bit better”, said Thailand’s Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin at a press conference on the outskirts of Bangkok.

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South Korea says MERS outbreak shows signs of subsiding

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Women wearing face masks walk in a shopping district in Seoul, on June 19, 2015

South Korea said on Friday that the MERS outbreak that has killed 24 people appears to have begun subsiding, as it reported one new case — the lowest rate of new infections in two weeks. This brought to 166 the total number of confirmed cases of the disease in the country since the first was confirmed on May 20, the health ministry said. The number of people in quarantine had fallen 12 percent from Thursday to 5,930, a day after Thailand reported Southeast Asia’s first case of the deadly virus since the South Korean outbreak.

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Hijackers of Malaysian tanker escape, one crewman shot

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Pirates who commandeered a Malaysian-flagged tanker in the South China Sea for a week have escaped from the vessel in a lifeboat, giving warships the slip under cover of night, the country's naval commander says

Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Jaafar also said the 22 crew members of the MT Orkim Harmony were unscathed except for an Indonesian seamen who was being treated for a gunshot wound to the thigh. “All eight robbers escaped by using the MT Orkim Harmony’s lifeboats,” Abdul Aziz said in a statement, adding that a range of Malaysian naval and coast guard assets were now searching for the pirates near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands. The vessel was the latest to be targeted by increasingly bold pirates behind an upsurge of sea hijackings in Southeast Asia in the past two …read more

U.S. to face differences with China head on at talks next week

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel answers reporters' question during a news conference in Seoul

By David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it would not “paper over” differences between the United States and China when top officials of the world’s two largest economies meet to discuss financial and political strategy in Washington next week. Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, set the scene for contentious exchanges at the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) by stressing that differences over the South China Sea, cyber security and human rights would be high on the U.S. agenda. Speaking after revelations of massive …read more

MERS outbreak shows old habits die hard in South Korea

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An elderly woman wearing a face mask walks past a warning sign on MERS, at Severance Hospital in Seoul, on June 16, 2015

South Korea’s growing MERS outbreak has laid bare the country’s poor handling of disasters despite President Park Geun-Hye’s pledge to overhaul public safety measures following last year’s ferry disaster, experts say. “Bureaucratic inefficiency, disregard for a crisis manual and the lack of training and education to deal with a crisis all remain the same,” he told AFP.

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