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S. Korea response to MERS outbreak deemed 'insufficient' as cases increase

More than 200 primary schools have been shut down amid fears that MERS may spread. A new poll shows South Koreans want more transparency regarding the government's response to the deadly virus.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye met with senior health officials on Wednesday to hash out a quarantine strategy after five new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were declared overnight.

"There are a lot of people worried about the situation," Park said during the emergency meeting.

Park criticized health officials for their "insufficient" response to the outbreak, which has

claimed two lives

and infected 30 people in the country.

"Everything must be done to stop any further spread," Park said, urging ministers and health officials to take more proactive measures to tackle the issue.

Dissatisfactory response

More than 200 primary schools were shut down on Wednesday after parents withdrew their children.

Dozens of public events were also canceled over fears that the deadly virus might spread.

The government has yet to identify the hospital where four out of the five new cases developed despite growing pressure from the public to disclose the information.

In an opinion poll published on Wednesday, 83 percent of respondents said that the South Korean government should disclose the locations where the virus had been contracted, Reuters news agency reported.

Spreading?

MERS has infected 1,161 people across the world and caused 436 deaths after

first appearing in Saudi Arabia in 2014

, according to World Health Organization (WHO) information.

More than 1,300 people have been quarantined in South Korea after being exposed to the deadly virus.

Hong Kong and mainland China have also announced plans to curb the spread of the virus, which has a 38 percent death rate, according to the WHO.

ls/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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