South Korea MERS death toll rises to 16; Saudi Arabia reports 5 cases

Story highlights

  • After a patient with MERS dies in South Korea, the outbreak's death toll is now at 16
  • Samsung Medical Center in Seoul suspends all but emergency surgery "to fully focus on responding to MERS"
  • South Korean health officials say the outbreak is slowing, but additional cases expected

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)Five new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have been confirmed in South Korea and another person has died from the virus, the country's Ministry of Health said Monday.

That brings to 16 the number of deaths attributed to the virus, which is known as MERS.
    Out of 150 people who contracted MERS since an outbreak began in South Korea last month, 120 are undergoing treatment, the ministry said.
      Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has recorded five cases of MERS in the past week, the official state-run Saudi press agency said Sunday, citing a weekly Ministry of Health statement.
      According to the World Health Organization, the strain of coronavirus that causes MERS was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.
      In Seoul, Samsung Medical Center -- one of the city's hospitals that has counted many of the nation's MERS cases among its patients and visitors -- announced Sunday that it will suspend all surgical procedures except for emergency surgery "to fully focus on responding to MERS."
      More than 50 confirmed MERS cases have been traced back to the medical center, according to the center's website.
      "We sincerely apologize with our heads bent to the people for causing great concern as Samsung Medical Center became the center (of) the spread of MERS," hospital President Song Jae-hoon said.
      Exactly a month ago, a South Korean man walked into