MERS outbreak sparks travel warnings to South Korea

Hong Kong has issued a travel warning to its citizens against travelling to South Korea amid an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, while Macau travel agencies have canceled all package tours scheduled for this month.

Hong Kong’s Security Bureau has announced a “red” travel alert for the country, the second-highest warning, which urges people to avoid non-essential travel.

“The Food and Health Bureau advises residents to avoid non-essential travel to Korea, including leisure travel. Those already there should pay attention to announcements by local authorities and avoid unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities,” the Security Bureau said.

The outbreak has so far claimed seven lives and has affected 90 people.

Macau’s Health Bureau and Tourism Crisis Management Office has issued travel advice and a safety alert, advising citizens not to travel to South Korea if unnecessary, according to local media reports.

Travellers on tours from Macau will be permitted to change their departure date, or destination for the next three months, the reports said. Package tours to South Korea make up about one third of outbound tours from Macau.