MERS Spreading In Asia – Implications For Travelers?


Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome more commonly known as MERS now appears to have been spread from South Korea to Hong Kong.

MERS Spreading

MERS has a fatality rate of roughly 35% that makes it deadlier than SARS that hit Hong Kong hard in 2003.

Note that many airlines have issued waivers for travel to South Korea. If you feel uncomfortable traveling at this time, contact the airline and request them to postpone your trip.

You can read more about the latest findings in Hong Kong on Singapore Straits Times website here of which below is an excerpt:

HONG KONG – Hong Kong has found four suspected cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers)  at clinics, the first such cases picked up outside of the airport.

All four suspected cases fell ill after visiting South Korea, according to the report.

Hong Kong issued a “red alert” advisory on Tuesday against non-essential travel to South Korea, where nine people have died from Mers and 122 cases have been confirmed.

A red alert, the second-highest outbound travel advisory on a three-point scale, is defined as a “significant threat” and means that people should “adjust travel plans” and “avoid non-essential travel”, according to the Hong Kong government.

The Mers virus is considered a deadlier but less infectious cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), which killed 299 people in Hong Kong in 2003.

There is no vaccine or cure for Mers which, according to the World Health Organisation data, has a fatality rate of around 35 per cent.


It probably would be the right time to curtail non-essential travel to South Korea that is currently the hardest hit with the MERS.

I am on my way back to Asia next week and will be in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Beijing before the end of this month. Let’s hope that this won’t spread further in Asia and Hong Kong as there is no cure.

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