Forty of the 50 foreign nationals who may have been in contact with South Korea’s recently confirmed Middle East respiratory syndrome patient have been located, health authorities said Wednesday.
The Korean government is still searching for the 10 remaining individuals, using public CCTV footage as well as collaborating with local accommodation providers in hopes of locating all of the travelers who arrived in Incheon from Dubai on the same flight with the patient on Friday.
Once located, the travelers are to be tested for the infectious disease, for which there is currently no cure.
Travellers are being inspected for fever upon their arrival at South Korea`s Incheon International Airport. (Yonhap)
On Saturday, a 61-year-old Korean man was diagnosed with MERS after returning home from his visit to Kuwait a day before. He took two flights to get home via Dubai -- Emirates EK 860 from Kuwait to Dubai, and Emirates EK 322 from the United Arab Emirates to South Korea.
Flight EK 322, carrying some 440 people including the patient, arrived in Incheon from Dubai at 4:51 p.m. on Friday.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also located 26 individuals who unknowingly traveled in the same taxi that the confirmed Korean patient used to get to the Samsung Medical Center in southern Seoul from Incheon Airport on Friday. The KCDC said one cab passenger still hasn’t been located.
None of the identified passengers are currently experiencing symptoms, but they have been asked to report their health conditions to health authorities twice daily.
All 19 South Korean nationals who shared accommodation with the confirmed patient in Kuwait and who have been tested for MERS at a local hospital have been told their results were negative.
At the same time, 10 people in South Korea who had shown symptoms of MERS, after having been in contact with the confirmed patient, also tested negative for the infectious disease, according to the KCDC. They are no longer under quarantine.
Some 435 people are still being monitored for possible infection as of Wednesday afternoon.
Those who suspect they may have MERS -- symptoms of which include fever, coughing, shortness of breath and diarrhea -- are asked to call 1339.