South Korea's acting prime minister called on officials Tuesday to cope with the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome virus at a serious level to ensure it will not spread to local communities.
The country has been maintaining an alert level of "caution", the third-highest warning in the country's four-tiered system since May 20 when its first outbreak of MERS was confirmed.
"We need to respond to the MERS situation at a level that is serious enough to preempt the possibility of the virus infecting local communities, though the current situation corresponds to the 'caution' level," acting Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said in a meeting with officials involved in the fight against the spread of MERS.
The seriousness category is the highest level of warning against infectious diseases. Choi did not elaborate on whether the government has any plan to officially raise the warning to the highest level.
He also vowed to mobilize all its resources and budgets to try to contain the MERS virus as early as this week.
His comments came as the death toll from the virus rose to seven as of Tuesday while the number of confirmed MERS patients climbed to 95. (Yonhap)