MERS victims file lawsuits against govt, hospitals

September 10, 2015

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Bereaved families and people who were isolated for suspected cases of the MERS virus have filed lawsuits against the government and hospitals for physical and mental damages, a civic group said Thursday.

In the 10 complaints filed with the Seoul Central District Court, the 34 plaintiffs are seeking a total of 1.1 billion won (US$920,000) in compensation, the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) said. It is the second set of such lawsuits since July.

The government had kept private the list of hospitals where Middle East Respiratory Syndrome patients were treated, exposing ordinary people to the danger of infection, they said.

The South Korean government declared a de facto end to MERS, which claimed 36 lives in the country, in late July after the first infection was reported on May 20.

MERS is a viral disease that is still fairly new to humans. No vaccine or treatment is currently available for the disease, apparently a reason for the high fatality rate of around 36 percent globally.

In South Korea, the fatality rate of the disease remains at 19.4 percent.