S. Korea president replaces health minister after MERS outbreak, who was severely criticized for the government’s poor response to the recent outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome in the Asian country.
President Park Geun-hye dismissed her health minister, who was severely criticized for the government’s poor response to the recent MERS outbreak in the Asian country. Minister of Health and Welfare Moon Hyong-pyo had himself proposed to resign after an apology to the public, officials said Tuesday
Moon Hyung-pyo is an economist and expert on welfare policy. He was criticized for a decision to withhold the names of hospitals that had handled MERS patients in the early stage of the outbreak which caused fear and confusion to South Koreans.
President Park nominated local medical professor Chung Chin-youb, 60, an orthopedics professor at Seoul National University Hospital to replace Moon Hyung-pyo as health minister, the president’s office stated on Tuesday. Chung is described by the president as a person who can boost South Korea’s public health care.
South Korea announced last week, that it was virtually free of Middle East respiratory syndrome. Since an outbreak was declared in May, no additional MERS cases have been reported till July 4, but World Health Organisation standards call for a four-week waiting period after the last MERS patient fully recovers, before declaring the outbreak definitively over, reports said.
The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus outbreak killed 36 people and infected nearly 200 others. More than 16,000 people had been isolated at hospitals and homes as the government tried to contain the disease’s spread, according to reports.
The South Korean media have criticized the government for failing to immediately cope with MERS in the early stage of its case in the country.