Indonesia still free of MERS: health minister - (d)

... we are now waiting for the results of tests on latest patients in Medan and Riau, and hope they are all negative... "
Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Indonesia's health minister, Nafsiah Mboi, said the country remains free of the MERS virus, which has now spread to 15 countries.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV), which first emerged in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, and then spread to Mecca, Madina and since then to 15 countries.

She said tests on 47 people in a number of regions in Sumatra, Java and Bali who were suspected to have been infected by the deadly virus sere MERS suspects have all been found negative.

The minister said Indonesia is still safe from the virus, but "we are now waiting for the results of tests on latest patients in Medan and Riau, and hope they are all negative."

With regard to protecting people, she appealed to those wishing to go abroad, especially to Middle Eastern countries, to protect their health by wearing masks while in public areas and urged them to lead healthy lives.

The minister said that the government has stepped up monitoring at 59 entry points and increased seaport and airport health services.

"We are also strengthening early detection, using thermal scanners at seaports and airports on passengers from Middle Eastern countries," she said.

If someone is thought to have indications of MERS, they would be given a thorough inspection and medication to prevent them from spreading the disease, the minister said. 

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